Alabama ranked in top ten nationally for childhood obesity, according to study

With more children coming to medical clinics who are obese, other medical issues are showing their head as part of the trend.
Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) - Alabama is in the top ten for having the most obese children, according to The State of Childhood Obesity, a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Dr. Jacob Edwards, an obese specialist and pediatrics specialist, says children should have a good role model in order to turn their lives around.

Dr. Edwards has seen a rising trend of children coming to his clinic who are severely obese.

“I think coming out of the pandemic it was a two percent increase overall in children. And in the clinic, I see more and more referrals to treat severe obesity,” Dr. Edwards said.

Seeing this trend can at times lead to other health issues if not taken care of early.

“That will increase your risk of diabetes, it will increase heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, and sleep apnea. It can increase your rate for certain cancers,” Dr. Edwards said.

One way he says parents can help combat this issue is to stay away from overly processed foods. Doing these steps can lower your risk.

“If we, one are good role models, avoid processed foods, those ultra-processed foods, and three practice a healthy lifestyle. You’re going to be set up on a good track to help prevent obesity in children, and then as an adult,” Dr. Edwards said.

Studies show that poverty and obesity may go hand in hand, according to the CDC. Dr. Edwards says it is possible to eat healthy within a budget, and one step you can take is meal prepping or buying in bulk.

“Talk to your local politicians about making sure that there are resources available in your community where you have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Drink water, avoid those sugary drinks,” Dr. Edwards said.

Dr. Edwards recommends incorporating movement in your child’s life, the less at risk they become.

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