Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford joins me to talk about the disease of obesity in children. She shares everything from the language we use, stigma and emotional well-being of children growing up in bigger bodies.
Dr. Fatima Cody Stanford, MD, MPH, MPA, FAAP, FACP, FTOS is an obesity medicine physician-scientist, educator, and policymaker at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. A nationally and internationally sought-after expert, she bridges the intersection of medicine, public health, policy, and disparities. She’s received multiple awards and recognition for her leadership and research in obesity medicine and diversity.
She stresses the importance of framing obesity as a disease at the outset, which leads to understanding its heritability. For Dr. Fatima, this lessens the generalizability of obesity in association with eating habits and encourages people to seek evidence-based therapies as with any other chronic disease.
She discusses the importance of our brain and its signals in regulating body weight. Dr. Stanford also addresses the stigma and issues around the idea of weighing children and using growth charts and BMI. While these tools have some utility clinically, we need to supplement them with other tools to have a more comprehensive assessment.
She talks about how she doesn’t believe in using terms such as “morbid” to explain the degree of obesity, highlighting the resolution passed by the American Medical Association in 2007.
Dr. Stanford shares the different ways how to prevent obesity as well as the treatments, approaches, and interventions available for children and families. Lastly, she gives tips on how parents can optimize their child’s physical health while promoting their emotional well-being.
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What You’ll Learn About The Disease of Obesity: Treating the Whole Child
- Obesity as a disease and its heritability
- The role of our brain in regulating body weight
- How society understands obesity and other factors
- Perspectives and issues on weighing children and using weight and growth charts
- Using the correct language and terms to describe obesity
- Addressing the prevalence of weight bias
- How stress relates to overall weight status and growth
- Available treatments and strategies to combat and prevent obesity
- Advice for parents who are raising children with the disease of obesity
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