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    Overweight Child: Medical Evaluation

    Overweight Child: Medical Evaluation

    Topic Overview

    If your child has been diagnosed by a doctor as being overweight or at risk of becoming overweight, a thorough medical exam is important to identify and treat any related health problems.

    History

    Your doctor will ask about:

    • Your child's weight history, to see if your child has had an unusual change in rate of growth.
    • What may have started the weight gain (such as an illness, family crisis or change, or medicine).
    • A family history of obesity , type 2 diabetes , heart disease, high blood pressure , and gallstones .
    • Sleeping problems your child may have, such as sleep apnea , which means your child stops breathing at times while asleep.
    • When you noticed your child's weight gain.
    • Past efforts to manage weight.
    • Unhealthy eating behavior, such as binge eating or fasting.
    • Your child's diet and exercise history.

    Causes of overweight

    Your doctor will look for physical or emotional reasons for your child's weight gain, including Prader-Willi syndrome , hypothyroidism , Cushing's syndrome (all of which are rare), or emotional causes such as depression , anxiety , and eating disorders .

    Some or all of the following tests will be done to help identify the cause and complications of being overweight:

    Your doctor will also ask if your child is taking medicines that may result in weight gain, including:

    • Antidepressants, such as amitriptyline, desipramine (Norpramin), and imipramine (Tofranil).
    • Corticosteroids , such as cortisone (Cortone), hydrocortisone (Cortef), and prednisone.
    • Medicines used to control seizures , such as divalproex (Depakote) and gabapentin (Neurontin).

    Physical exam

    During a complete physical exam, your doctor will check your child's health and look for early signs of problems, including:

    Your doctor may refer your child to a medical specialist or a registered dietitian .

    Credits

    By Healthwise Staff
    John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
    Rhonda O'Brien, MS, RD, CDE - Certified Diabetes Educator
    Last Revised July 31, 2013

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