Creating Hope: New Approaches to Tackle Pediatric Obesity
Doctors Aaron Kelly, PhD, Professor in the Division of Pediatric Epidemiology and Clinical Research, and Claudia Fox, MD, MPH, Associate Professor in the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota have been working in conjunction with the Center of Pediatric Obesity Medicine (CPOM) to fight pediatric obesity. Their goal is twofold: help with a health problem that affects one in five children and their families and to develop more effective and practical solutions. Initially, the thought was that obesity was an issue of willpower, but more recently researchers and physicians have started to understand the complexity of pediatric obesity and its environmental and biological factors. Research has shown that early intervention in kids, via both medication and lifestyle changes, is key not only to help with physical and mental health problems, but to initiate change before physiological consequences start to arise.
Recently the doctors at the University of Minnesota worked with a teenager named Jack. After meeting with Drs. Kelly and Fox, he underwent a lifestyle change and medication regime designed to decrease hunger insatiety, and increase play and movement, leading to a weight-loss journey of 50 pounds. Now Jack's finger dexterity has improved following his weight loss and he can play with and build his legos. He has also traded in his wheelchair for rides on his bike and swims for fun and day-to-day movement. To read about Jack’s full story and more about Dr. Fox and Dr. Kelly’s work, follow this link.