In a study on overweight 5-7 year old children by Danielzik, Langnäse, Mast, Spethmann, and Müller (2002), the children’s risk for obesity was associated with parental obesity, so it is important to consider familial dispositions when treating a 5-year-old boy with overweight parents. However, manipulating environmental factors, such as lifestyle habits and eating habits, and should reduce the child’s obesity and various associated risk factors, such as metabolic syndrome or diabetes (Pavlovich-Danis & Etienne, 2012).
In order to recommend strategies for improving the boy’s condition, I would need to know the family’s lifestyle habits and eating habits, so I would ask the following questions:
- Did you previously attempt using over-the-counter drugs for self-medication?
- Can you please describe the most common types of food you eat throughout the week?
- On a scale of 1-10, how would you evaluate the boy’s physical activity levels?
The first question is precautionary because self-medication is not documented in health records, but may provide important information about the child’s medical history and affect treatment planning. The second question aims to establish their current eating pattern without questioning about quantities to avoid lowering their self-esteem. It is already possible to assume that their carbohydrate intake is high because high carbohydrate diets are associated with metabolic syndrome development (Pavlovich-Danis & Etienne, 2012). Finally, the third question allows them to reflect on their child’s physical activity without making direct accusations.
Two strategies can be recommended to encourage the parents to improve their child’s weight and at the same time manage their own weight as well. The first step is engaging in patient education with the whole family. They need to avoid common misconceptions about dieting to prevent potential adverse health effects. For example, it would not be recommended to restrict nutrient intake to treat obesity because it can lead to nutritional growth retardation and delayed sexual development (Lifshitz, 2009). The second step is to offer supportive therapy to help the family introduce new habits, measure progress, and offer psychosocial support (Lifshitz, 2009). With psychosocial support, the parents will more likely introduce new habits and become proactive regarding the boy’s health and their own health.
Danielzik, S., Langnäse, K., Mast, M., Spethmann, C., & Müller, M. J. (2002). Impact of parental BMI on the manifestation of overweight 5–7 year old children. European Journal of Nutrition, 41(3), 132-138.
Lifshitz, F. (2009). Nutrition and growth. Journal of Clinical Research in Pediatric Endocrinology, 1(4), 157-163.
Pavlovich-Danis, S. J., & Etienne, M. O. (2012). Body fat shapes patients' health. Retrieved from http://ce.nurse.com/RetailCourseView.aspx?CourseNum=ce375-60&page=4&IsA=1