New solutions for childhood obesity

UAlberta researcher Geoff Ball is creating new ways to better support families.

Shelby Soke - 29 May 2017

Childhood obesity has a lifelong impact on the health of our families and communities. Keeping Canada's children healthy and happy is the mission of UAlberta researcher Geoff Ball.

Although the notion that children need to eat their vegetables and play outside seems like an easy solution, the biology of childhood obesity is complex. According to Ball, there is not just one type of obesity, instead there are 'obesities' with different causes and consequences.

"Obesity is often described as a complex disease with lots of causes and lots of consequences. Not everyone has the same consequences," said Ball. "Someone with Type 2 diabetes could have less body fat than somebody who has quite a bit more body fat and doesn't have type 2 diabetes. There is considerable variability between individuals."

Ball explained that about 30 per cent of children and youth in Canada are considered overweight or obese. This reality highlights the need for different strategies to prevent unhealthy weight gain and manage obesity once it develops. How health care professionals and health care systems address childhood obesity needs to acknowledge this complexity in health care delivery.

Despite the big impact on their health, most children referred by their doctors for weight management don't attend their initial clinic appointment. Recently, Ball learned why―and his team is doing something about it to better support our families. Ball has developed a number of tools to identify and address pediatric obesity with patients and physicians.

Ball will be at the Festival of Health June to highlight local research in managing, preventing, and gaining a better understanding of childhood obesity over the past decade.

Learn more about this topic at the Festival of Health

Register here for your free ticket
ECHA 2-490 1 - 5 p.m.
Edmonton Clinic Health Academy,
North Campus, University of Alberta

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delivered in rapid doses
by U of A's leading health experts
1 - 2 p.m.

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Interactive displays
2 - 3 p.m. & 3:45 - 4:45 p.m.

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3 - 3:45 p.m.

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