Friday, March 25, 2011

Children's National experts featured in Post series on childhood obesity and diabetes

Childhood obesity is a perennial hot topic in pediatric medicine. Doctors and scientists at Children’s National Medical Center are busy combating childhood obesity on as many fronts as possible as quickly as possible, to help stem the tide of obesity and related diseases such as type 2 diabetes.

The Washington Post Health section this week profiled several families struggling with obesity and type 2 diabetes, and Children’s National experts offered their insights about how families can successfully help their children be healthier.

In "Parenting an Overweight Child can be Difficult," doctors from the Children’s National Obesity Institute talk about what they’ve learned from their patients and families about the difficulties of implementing healthier habits. Both psychologist Eleanor Mackey, PhD, and pediatrician Nazrat Mirza, MD, agree that making changes must be a family affair. One child can’t eat a special diet, the entire family needs to eat healthier, according to Dr. Mackey. And Dr. Mirza points out that the best way for a parent to encourage their child to get active is for that parent to get active too.

In "Obesity Problems Fuel Rapid Surge of Type 2 Diabetes Among Children," Fran Cogen, MD, director of the Diabetes Program and blogger, tells families struggling with type 2 diabetes to “Stamp out Guilt” and focus on making changes now for a healthier future.

Importantly, the stories above focused on the help and support available for families already struggling with obesity and its related side effects. At the same time, investigators in both the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation and the Obesity Institute--which is co-directed by Sheikh Zayed Institute investigator Evan Nadler, MD--are looking ahead through innovative research that aims to understand the genetic causes of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

This combination of research, clinical care, and community outreach is key to helping today’s families get healthier as quickly as possible, while working to uncover new ways that doctors in the future might stop childhood obesity in its tracks.