Childhood Obesity Course

Welcome to the childhood obesity course! Here I will attempt to collate the scientific literature with my own real-world experiences mixed in to provide a general overview of childhood obesity. I will discuss various contributing factors as well as different tips for prevention and treatment that can be utilized by families to help their children prevent and/or manage the disease of obesity. Thus, I will not discuss medication management or surgical options as those would require a healthcare team. I am not perfect and I do not claim this course is perfect, but I have done the best I can to bring forward useful and accurate information that will also be practical. When there is ambiguity in the literature I will try to make this clear and provide all viewpoints fairly.

If you do not wish to go through this full course, consider looking through the condensed version here.

There are 13 lessons in this course:

  • Lesson 1: Preconception Considerations for Childhood Obesity
  • Lesson 2: Pregnancy – Food Intake and Weight Status
  • Lesson 3: Pregnancy – Medical Conditions, Birth Size, and Other Considerations
  • Lesson 4: Infants and Toddlers – Breast Milk and Formula Feeding
  • Lesson 5: Infants and Toddlers – Complementary Feeding
  • Lesson 6: Infants and Toddlers – Additional Feeding Considerations
  • Lesson 7: Infants and Toddlers – Growth, Exercise, and Other Topics
  • Lesson 8: Children and Adolescents – Health Implications and Appetite Dysregulation from Obesity
  • Lesson 9: Psychological Aspects of Obesity and Its Treatment
  • Lesson 10: Children and Adolescents – Obesity Definition and Anthropometric Considerations
  • Lesson 11: Children and Adolescents – Growth Curve Considerations, Perception, and Weight Change Goals
  • Lesson 12: Children and Adolescents – Nutrition
  • Lesson 13: Children and Adolescents – Feeding Behaviors, Sleep, and Exercise Considerations

  • Lesson 1: Preconception Considerations for Childhood Obesity
    • transgenerational influence
    • environmental exposures
    • maternal weight status
    • paternal weight status
    • parental nutrition and exercise
  • Lesson 2: Pregnancy – Food Intake and Weight Status
    • food intake
    • maternal weight status throughout pregnancy
  • Lesson 3: Pregnancy – Medical Conditions, Birth Size, and Other Considerations
    • impact of various medical conditions on child weight
    • impact of pregnancy number, birth order, and siblings
    • impact of delivery method
    • impact of infant birth size and body composition on child health
    • environmental and in utero exposures
    • pregnancy interventions
  • Lesson 4: Infants and Toddlers – Breast Milk and Formula Feeding
    • breastfeeding
    • formula feeding
  • Lesson 5: Infants and Toddlers – Complementary Feeding
    • influence of complementary feeding on feeding behavior
    • specific food considerations relating to growth
    • baby-led weaning (“BLW”)
    • timing of complementary feeding introduction
    • general advice for complementary feeding
  • Lesson 6: Infants and Toddlers – Additional Feeding Considerations
    • responsive feeding
    • picky eating
    • considerations of portion sizes and eating in the absence of hunger
  • Lesson 7: Infants and Toddlers – Growth, Exercise, and Other Topics
    • rapid weight gain (“RWG”) and catch-up growth (“CUG”)
    • exercise in young childhood
    • environmental exposure
    • antibiotic utilization
  • Lesson 8: Children and Adolescents – Health Implications and Appetite Dysregulation from Obesity
    • health implications associated with childhood obesity
    • appetite dysregulation associated with obesity
  • Lesson 9: Children and Adolescents – Psychological Aspects of Obesity and Its Treatment
    • psychological impact of stigma, shame, and stress associated with obesity
    • does working on weight management trigger eating disorders?
  • Lesson 10: Children and Adolescents – Obesity Definition and Anthropometric Considerations
    • body mass index (“BMI”)
    • body composition
    • waist circumference
    • waist-to-height ratio (“WHtR”) thresholds
  • Lesson 11: Children and Adolescents – Growth Curve Considerations, Perception, and Weight Change Goals
    • growth curve considerations
    • misperception of child weight status
    • weight loss goals
  • Lesson 12: Children and Adolescents – Nutrition
    • calories
    • macronutrients
    • micronutrients
    • food groups
    • beverages
    • timing of nutrition intake
    • various diets
  • Lesson 13: Children and Adolescents – Feeding Behaviors, Sleep, and Exercise Considerations
    • feeding behaviors
    • sleep considerations for weight management
    • exercise considerations
  • Lesson 1: Preconception Considerations for Childhood Obesity
    • transgenerational influence
    • environmental exposures
    • maternal weight status
    • paternal weight status
    • parental nutrition and exercise
  • Lesson 2: Pregnancy – Food Intake and Weight Status
    • food intake
      • interaction of maternal diet with child food preferences
      • interaction of food intake with child health outcomes
    • maternal weight status throughout pregnancy
      • impact of maternal obesity on child health
      • physiologic changes in pregnancy and in the offspring due to maternal obesity
      • impact of excess gestational weight gain (“GWG”)
  • Lesson 3: Pregnancy – Medical Conditions, Birth Size, and Other Considerations
    • the impact of various medical conditions on child weight
      • gestational diabetes mellitus (“GDM”)
      • preeclampsia
      • maternal infection and antibiotic use
    • impact of pregnancy number, birth order, and siblings
    • impact of delivery method
    • impact of infant birth size and body composition on child health
    • environmental and in utero exposures
      • pesticides and pollutants
      • hormones
    • pregnancy interventions
      • general lifestyle interventions
      • exercise during pregnancy
  • Lesson 4: Infants and Toddlers – Breast Milk and Formula Feeding
    • breastfeeding
      • impact on flavor preference and picky eating
      • impact of maternal body mass index (“BMI”) status on breast milk composition
      • impact of breastfeeding on child weight status
      • breastfeeding and feeding behaviors
    • formula feeding
  • Lesson 5: Infants and Toddlers – Complementary Feeding
    • influence of complementary feeding on feeding behavior
    • specific food considerations relating to growth
    • baby-led weaning (“BLW”)
    • timing of complementary feeding introduction
    • general advice for complementary feeding
  • Lesson 6: Infants and Toddlers – Additional Feeding Considerations
    • responsive feeding
      • potential mechanisms of benefit
      • caregivers can improve at responsive feeding
      • the impact of responsive feeding on child health outcomes
    • picky eating
      • general aspects of picky eating
      • feeding styles
    • considerations of portion sizes and eating in the absence of hunger
  • Lesson 7: Infants and Toddlers – Growth, Exercise, and Other Topics
    • rapid weight gain (“RWG”) and catch-up growth (“CUG”)
      • typical growth
      • the impact of rapid weight gain
      • the impact of catch-up growth
    • exercise in young childhood
      • infancy
      • toddlerhood
    • environmental exposure
      • specific concerns regarding air pollution
    • antibiotic utilization
  • Lesson 8: Children and Adolescents – Health Implications and Appetite Dysregulation from Obesity
    • health implications associated with childhood obesity
      • persistence of obesity over time
      • health complications of childhood obesity
      • impact of obesity on adult health
    • appetite dysregulation associated with obesity
  • Lesson 9: Children and Adolescents – Psychological Aspects of Obesity and Its Treatment
    • psychological impact of stigma, shame, and stress associated with obesity
    • does working on weight management trigger eating disorders?
  • Lesson 10: Children and Adolescents – Obesity Definition and Anthropometric Considerations
    • body mass index (“BMI”)
    • body composition
    • waist circumference
    • waist-to-height ratio (“WHtR”) thresholds
  • Lesson 11: Children and Adolescents – Growth Curve Considerations, Perception, and Weight Change Goals
    • growth curve considerations
      • caveats with accuracy
      • how to evaluate the level of obesity based on the growth curve
      • rapid weight gain (“RWG”)
      • adiposity rebound (“AR”)
    • misperception of child weight status
    • weight loss goals
  • Lesson 12: Children and Adolescents – Nutrition
    • calories
    • macronutrients
    • micronutrients
    • food groups
    • beverages
    • timing of nutrition intake
    • various diets
  • Lesson 13: Children and Adolescents – Feeding Behaviors, Sleep, and Exercise Considerations
    • feeding behaviors
    • sleep considerations for weight management
    • exercise considerations
      • health benefits
      • exercise and obesity
      • changes with age

The course is written chronologically but you do not need to read the lessons in order. You can most likely read any lesson in isolation and understand it without reading the prior material. At times I reference the Nutrition and Weight Management course and the General Exercise course as I did not want to repeat the same information in this course, but I make it clear throughout the course when it would be helpful to refer to those two courses.

Much of the information in this course applies to children with a variety of different medical conditions and while on multiple medications. However, I cannot account for every possible scenario, and thus if a child has baseline health condition(s) and/or is on any chronic medications I do encourage you to contact your child’s healthcare provider prior to making any significant lifestyle changes.

If after going through the course anything is unclear, if you feel I have left out any pertinent topics, if you believe there is any relevant literature that I did not include, or if you think I am simply wrong about anything, please contact me and if indicated I will edit the course. Additionally, if there are other things I can do to make the course more helpful (ie, include more examples, address specific scenarios, etc), please let me know that as well.

With all of that said, please enjoy! You can click to whichever lesson you wish to begin below. Additionally, you will probably find your viewing experience to be improved if you go through this on a computer as opposed to a phone as there may be issues with resizing of the images on a smaller screen. That said, you will still be able to read all of the content on a phone, it will just be a little less visually appealing.

This course is currently updated with literature through February 1, 2022.

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