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Episode 88: What Is Obesity In Children?


Episode 88: What Is Obesity In Children?


Are you concerned about your child’s weight? The obesity epidemic is growing at an alarming rate. Obesity is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the prevalence of obesity was 19.3% and affected about 14.4 million children and adolescents, compared to only 5% of the population only 30 years prior. Join me for an informative discussion on pediatric obesity with Dr. Leigh M Ettinger as he discusses how this condition develops, signs to look out for to determine if your child is becoming overweight, and treatment options available today.

During Dr. Leigh M. Ettinger’s nearly 17 years as a pediatric nephrologist at Hackensack University Medical Center in Northern New Jersey, he saw more and more of his patients struggling with obesity. He dove into the medical literature to understand this complicated epidemic. After discovering the benefits of plant-based eating for weight control, he started sharing diet and lifestyle advice with his patients, community groups, medical students, doctors, and nurses. He earned a certificate in plant-based nutrition from Cornell in 2016. In 2017, he joined the staff hospital’s pediatric weight management program. In 2019, he became the diplomat of the American Board of Obesity Medicine. When COVID-19 hit, Dr. Ettinger embraced telemedicine. In 2021, he founded the Doctor Herbivore practice, which offers telemedicine visits for pediatric obesity in New York and New Jersey, and also has a Facebook group for education and entertainment. He also runs a blog. And we’ll talk more about that as we dive into this discussion with Dr. Ettinger.



Key Highlights

Tune in to my conversation with Dr. Leigh M. Ettinger and learn:

  • How obesity in children is different from obesity in adults
  • What metrics are used to monitor a child’s growth
  • 19% of children in the US aged 2-19 have obesity, compared to only 5% ithe past
  • Why environment plays such an important role in the development of obesity in children
  • A study in 2014 that showed parents have lost the ability to judge whether their kids are normal weight, overweight, or obese 
  • Metrics to diagnose pediatric obesity if BMI is just a screening tool
  • Frequency of visits pediatric patients with obesity should make




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