Sustaining a healthy weight and proper nutrition is critical for people of all ages. The Northwestern Children’s Practice can help families and children from the Chicagoland area maintain weight to height proportions through nutrition and weight management counseling.
How can I tell if my child is at a healthy weight compared to height?
Children grow at different rates during different times, so many doctors use a percentile chart to decide if a child is within a normal range. Health care providers may also use body mass index, or BMI, as a guide for the weight to height relationship. Dr. Rebecca Unger, who also works in the Lurie Wellness and Weight Management Clinic, does nutrition consults for overweight patients, underweight patients, and for picky eaters. Parents who are concerned about their child’s growth pattern or feeding behaviors can schedule a consultation appointment at the Northwestern Children’s Practice. During these consults, after obtaining a family history and a physical exam, a family based intervention is developed with individualized goals. The focus will be on family fitness (to promote healthy lifestyles) and on obesity prevention (to help prevent chronic disease). Programs include an assessment of family eating, physical activity patterns, and growth parameters such as weight, height, and BMI. Follow up visits will reassess and revise goals as needed. When appropriate, lab work may be recommended. Additionally, all doctors and nurse practitioners will counsel families about healthy eating and physical activity patterns during their annual well child visits.
What are the risks associated with being over or underweight?
Maintaining a healthy weight to height relationship is important to physical and emotional health. Health issues, in both children and adults, related to being overweight include heart problems, diabetes, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal, orthopedic and psychosocial problems. Children who are underweight can have problems with immune diseases, handling infections, and growth. An unhealthy weight can also keep a child from participating in sports and can cause psychosocial problems.
What is nutrition counseling?
Nutrition counseling helps families understand what their child needs to optimize growth. Dr. Unger and her colleagues at the Northwestern Children’s Practice can create a family eating and physical activity plan to optimize growth and reduce unhealthy behaviors around meal and snack times. Nutrition consults are helpful for children who are overweight, underweight, or picky eaters. Nutrition counseling can also assist young athletes with ensuring that they are consuming enough calories of the right foods. The doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses at the Northwestern Children’s Practice can help families understand their dietary needs in order to make healthy food choices.