As we are specialists in the foot and lower extremity, we will see the impact it has on childhood obesity sooner or later. Today, one-third of all children are overweight, and, unfortunately, will be overweight adolescents and adults. This will lead to osteoarthritic joints down the road.
Pediatricians and primary care physicians need to be aware that the effects of obesity will cause foot related problems. As podiatrists, we must intervene early to reduce foot problems. We all know that if a child experiences foot discomfort or leg pain, they won’t want to exercise, and therefore it becomes harder for our children to control excess weight.
In the US, obesity is the number one epidemic. This is the leading cause of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and peripheral vascular disease. Think of the cost to treat our kids who grow up obese.
Several studies show that as obesity increases, physical function decreases, as does the psychosocial aspect. Leg pain, knee pain, foot pain, and joint pain will occur, and our children will not want to participate in any physical activity, making weight control difficult. Getting our children into orthotics is one goal. So here are some suggestions: the Pull Your Own Weight Foundation (pullyourownweight.net) is a program dealing with motivating our children. Start walking. Some schools are trying to implement a walking program from kindergarten to 12th grade. If your child is diabetic, seek programs to help with this. Check your local YMCA and health clubs. Many have started exercise programs geared toward childhood obesity. Check newspapers and radio for family fun days geared toward exercise and good nutrition.
Now get out there and walk!
For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us!