Prevent and manage childhood obesity: a partnership with your primary care doctor

Families often seek guidance from trusted health care providers to make the best decisions about nutrition and physical activity for their children. But starting these conversations can be tough, and time is short at the doctor’s office.

Doctors feel this struggle, too, and many of them are looking for strategies to make their time with patients most efficient and productive, especially with regard to preventing and managing childhood and adolescent obesity. These family medicine doctors, pediatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants no doubt know the devastating impact that excess weight can have on overall health—leading to the early onset of life threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.

Pediatrician with dad and daughter

Researchers have identified steps your child’s primary care provider can take to help your family prevent and manage overweight and obesity—guidelines statistically proven to be associated with better outcomes for children.

Jump IN for Healthy Kids is committed to helping clinicians implement these guidelines in their practices and stay up-to-date with current knowledge about nutrition and physical activity recommendations for children.

Our first clinician workshop on the issue is set for September 16. Now primary care providers of all kinds can improve the ways in which they interact with families to effectively prevent or manage obesity. You can help by coming to your child’s wellness check-up ready and willing to talk about weight and the contributing factors that affect it. Some of the things you might consider asking your provider include:

Teen boy measuring his weight on doctor's scale
  • Does my child get an adequate amount of exercise? What is the daily goal for a child her age? What “counts” towards this goal, what types of physical activity should she be doing?
  • Does my child eat enough healthy foods? What is “healthy”? How do I help him eat better?
  • Is my child’s weight something to be concerned about now? Where is she on the growth charts and what does that mean? How will/does puberty affect her weight?
  • Are there particular warning signs we should watch for, or dangers to be aware of, that might suggest my child’s weight is causing or aggravating other negative health problems?

As always, your primary care physician is a trusted member of your child’s team, helping you monitor and assess his current health and potential threats to his wellness. Your clinician can help you find specialists if needed, reading material and other support to help you.


Do you know a family physician, pediatrician, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant that might be interested in learning more about preventing and managing obesity in their primary care setting? Our September 16th continuing medical education workshop is produced in collaboration with the Indiana State Medical Association and Indiana Academy of Family Physicians. Consider sharing the information with your personal and professional contacts.