Obesity and related disease -particularly diabetes- have turned into the most urgent public health issue of our time. Mortality rates associated with obesity have even surpassed that of hunger in some parts of the world such as the USA. Recent research has also shown that over 30% of adults and 20% of children in our country are overweight and obese.
According to findings of the “Childhood Obesity Research” among second-grade children, which was conducted on the basis of the methodology proposed by WHO, prevalence of obesity is 8.4 and prevalence of overweight, which signals risk of obesity, is 14.3 in this age group. It has also been found out that prevalence of overweight is three times higher in urban areas than in rural regions. A similar difference exists between İstanbul/West and East/Southeast. This set of data clearly displays the extent to which lifestyle and dietary habits determine the increased risk of obesity for children. Children living in cities and in western regions overall encounter food items that instigate a sense of enjoyment upon consumption and create a lifelong habit more often, which results in them gaining weight early on. We all know how junk food is “readily available” everywhere, particularly supermarkets. It is also known that these products are usually described as cheap and “safe” -which is not entirely true; they may be safe, but also they are unhealthy-, and marketed as favorable items often by means of cartoon characters. Those children who are exposed to such advertisements consume 40 percent more stick crackers than those wo are not. This is all closely related to the high and rapidly absorbed sugar content found in “junk food” and processed products, which in turn causes “food addiction”.
Obesity is a complex problem that respectively leads to an increase in the overweight population in a society, prevalence of obesity and obesity-associated diseases like type 2 diabetes, shortened life expectancy due to these diseases and eventually epigenetic accumulation carried over from one generation to the other. From this point of view, it seems that protecting children from the risk of obesity and treating obese individuals constitute the most notable strategy for maintaining children’s and adults’ health, i.e. public health as a whole.
We are glad to serve obese children with 27 years of experience and the latest technology at our disposal as the Pediatric Endocrinology team of Koç University Hospital. Below are the services our team offers:
· A comprehensive evaluation at the time of first visit and determination of tailored approaches for each individual;
· Analysis and treatment of insulin resistance;
· Analysis of dietary habits and body mass components (fat, muscle and bone tissue ratios);
· Structured healthy dietary training;
· Dietary planning in accordance with level of obesity and personal features, and close review of progress;
· Tailored exercise planning;
· Psychosocial assessment and support;
· Support at school and prevention of “stigmatization”;
· Treatment with the latest obesity medication available;
“Metabolic Surgery” planning in collaboration with the Metabolic Surgery unit of Koç University Hospital, as may be necessary for adolescent obese individuals.