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Fighting Childhood Obesity
May 10, 2013

Eyewitness News Reporter Darrah Wilcox Dr. James Bailes with CHH Pediatrics said his plan to help obese children has drastically changed in the last couple decades. He said he has turned away from federal guidelines that suggest a low-fat diet to lose weight.

"Fat is not the cause of obesity. It's really carbohydrate intake and that's what causes your body to make insulin and insulin is what makes you store fat. Until we started to cut back on our carbohydrate intake did we really start to see kids lose weight," he said.

Bailes has the success stories to back up his strategies. He shows us stacks of photos and tells stories of patients losing up to 50 pounds and more with this type of dietary plan.

He suggests between 30 to 60 carbohydrates a day, mainly from fruits and vegetables. But he said to watch out for fruits high in sugar.

"If you're actually trying to lose weight, a banana is going to make it just as difficult to lose weight than eating a candy bar as well," he said.

Medical professionals don't just look at a child's weight, but the overall Body Mass Index. "If we're getting higher and higher on our BMI curve per age, then that's something that we need to do something about at a younger and younger age."

Even children as young as 3 or 4 can have serious weight problems, and the earlier you can make changes, the better.

"I like to think of it as a healthy lifestyle, and the changes can't just be made for a couple months. They need to be lifelong changes," Bailes said.

That includes giving up some video game and iPad time.

"I encourage kids to get 30 to 45 to 60 minutes a day of outdoor, heart rate up, exercise every single day," he said.

Bailes said to keep an open mind to a different lifestyle.

"If you talk to most dietitians, they'll tell you low-fat is the way to go, and unfortunately, as we've cut back our fat intake, we're getting fatter and fatter as a country," he said..

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