Valley Medical offers weight loss for youth ages 12 and up. Our Youth Program includes a month’s supply of the following:
- FDA-approved Appetite Suppressant for 12 years or older*
- Professional strength liquid multivitamin, mineral and antioxidant vitamins
- Daily Probiotic
- Meal Plan
- Weekly Weigh-ins
- Physician Consultation
What to expect?
We want to make sure this is the right fit for you and your youth so consultations are free at Valley Medical.
Youths above the age of 12 are eligible for an appetite suppressant named Benzphetamine. This medication is FDA approved for ages 12 and up. It is up to the discretion of the physician to determine eligibility for each patient, including youths. At the age of 16, youths are eligible for an FDA approved medication named Phentermine.
The physician encourages weekly visits into our offices for blood pressure checks and to weigh the patient to document progress. During these follow up visits, the parent or legal guardian may sign a release form so the youth may continue to be treated by the physician without the parent or legal guardian present. Because the patient is a youth and under the age of 18, he or she must be accompanied by a parent and/or legal guardian on the first visit. Parent or legal guardian must be present during initial visit. Parent or legal guardian will be required to attend with minor in our office every 12 weeks or as requested by our physician. If minor has been absent from our clinic for 90 days or longer, or physician wishes to change minor’s medication, parent must attend visit with minor.
*Please be advised that patients do need to qualify for all appetite medications and water pill based on medical history and BMI
More than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight. This is triple the number than in 1980. Poor nutrition is everywhere; only 2% of school-age children consistently eat well. Kids are less active overall due to today’s fast-paced but sedentary lifestyles. 35% of school-age children watch an average of 5 or more hours of TV on a school day. Studies show overweight kids miss school 4 times as much as normal weight kids. Low-income and minority children are most seriously at risk. Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year.
Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat.
A child who is overweight or obese is more likely to be overweight or obese as an adult. Obese children are now developing health problems that used to be seen only in adults. When these problems begin in childhood, they often become more severe when the child becomes an adult.
Children with obesity are at risk for developing these health problems:
- High blood glucose (sugar) or diabetes
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- High blood cholesterol and triglycerides (dyslipidemia or high blood fats)
- Heart attacks due to coronary heart disease, congestive heart failure, and stroke later in life
- Bone and joint problems — more weight puts pressure on the bones and joints. This can lead to osteoarthritis, a disease that causes joint pain and stiffness.
- Stopping breathing during sleep (sleep apnea). This can cause daytime fatigue or sleepiness, poor attention, and problems at school.
What is obesity?
A few extra pounds does not suggest obesity. However, they may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise. Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for their height and body type. Obesity most commonly begins between the ages of 5 and 6, or during adolescence. Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.
Obese children and low self-esteem
Child and adolescent obesity is also associated with increased risk of emotional problems. Teens with weight problems tend to have much lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers and are more likely to be teased or bullied. Depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder can also occur.
What causes obesity?
The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors. Obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:
- poor eating habits
- overeating or binging
- lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
- family history of obesity
- medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
- medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
- stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, death, abuse)
- family and peer problems
- low self-esteem
- depression or other emotional problems
How can obesity be managed and treated?
Obese children need a thorough medical evaluation by a pediatrician or family physician to consider the possibility of a physical cause. In the absence of a physical disorder, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity. Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation. Since obesity often affects more than one family member, making healthy eating and regular exercise a family activity can improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent.
Ways to manage obesity in children and adolescents include:
- start a weight-management program
- change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
- plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods)
- control portions and consume less calories
- increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle
- know what your child eats at school
- eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
- do not use food as a reward
- limit snacking
- attend a support group (e.g., Overeaters Anonymous)
Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue. The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that they tend to go back to their old habits of eating and exercising. An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain a desired weight. Parents of an obese child can improve their child’s self-esteem by emphasizing their strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem. When a child or adolescent with obesity also has emotional problems, a child and adolescent psychiatrist can work with the child’s family physician to develop a comprehensive treatment plan. Such a plan would include reasonable weight loss goals, dietary and physical activity management, behavior modification, and family involvement.