Childhood obesity is a significant health problem affecting children and families throughout Indiana and across the U.S. Obesity develops when a child has gained excessive weight. This typically occurs from eating unhealthy foods, consuming large portions of food and not staying physically active. Rarely, medications or certain medical conditions can cause a child to gain weight easily. Having an unhealthy weight can lead to more health problems throughout a child’s life.
What to Expect
During your visit at Riley at IU Health, you and your child may meet with a physician, nurse, dietitian and child psychologist. We are a team who will help your child achieve a healthier weight, become more active, and stay motivated to accomplish his/her goals.
- You and your child will complete a 3-day food diary and questionnaires regarding your family’s eating and activity patterns.
- We will review your child’s weight and height on his/her growth charts.
- Your child’s physician may check blood tests to look for other medical problems that can develop from obesity. These chronic diseases include diabetes, fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and sleep disorders.
Your child’s provider will also make recommendations to help your child’s weight management such as:
- Dietary counseling. The nutrition specialists at Riley at IU Health can provide you and your child healthy food options that meet the specific nutritional needs for your child.
- Physical activity. Engaging in more physical activities, such as going on walks as a family, can help your child become more active.
- Goal setting. By setting realistic, achievable weight loss goals, your child can stay on track to reach a healthy weight.
- Family centered approach. Our approach is to help your child and family create a sustainable healthy lifestyle that will encourage your child to reach their weight management goals.
Key Points to Remember
- Childhood obesity can lead to lifelong diseases.
- You and your family can start by eating more fruit, vegetables, and lean protein. It is best to avoid sugar-sweetened beverages and fast food.
- Limit the use of electronics to less than 2 hours per day.
- Begin doing physical activities every day as a family, such as walking and playing outside.
- Children and adolescents need support and encouragement from family members to make healthy food choices and implement physical activity into their daily lives.
For Health Professionals
Our comprehensive team has put together a tool to help physicians treat patients with obesity. These guidelines are to be used as a reference. If you have any specific questions about this tool or more, please reach out to our team.
Riley Obesity Evaluation & Management Guidelines (PDF) - to view this interactive PDF, you'll need to download and view the PDF in Adobe Acrobrat Reader.
In addition to our primary hospital location at the Academic Health Center in Indianapolis, IN, we have convenient locations to better serve our communities throughout the state.
Riley Outpatient Center at IU Health
Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition
575 Riley Hospital Dr
Indianapolis, IN 46202