Does your kid have a thick neck? If so, he may need to go on a diet. Show Notes

Thursday, May 03, 2012 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Does your kid have a thick neck? If so, he may need to go on a diet.

Doctors at the Mayo Clinic say that measuring a child's neck size is a relatively new method of screening for childhood obesity. They say it’s accurate and easier to obtain than total body mass index or “BMI.”

Dr. Jay Hoecker, with the Mayo Clinic’s Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine, reports that the technique isn't routinely used yet, and that more research is needed. But he says early studies suggest that neck size can be used to identify overweight kids and clinical obesity in boys and girls ages 6 to 18.

BMI involves a mathematical calculation using a child’s weight and height. But it doesn't consider factors such as being muscular, having a larger than average body frame, or the variation in growth patterns among children.

Unlike BMI, measuring a child's neck size to identify obesity is straightforward. The doctor simply places measuring tape around the most prominent part of your child's neck and compares the measurement to values that indicate obesity for your child's age.  

Neck size also is a better gauge of upper body fat than is BMI.  That's important because upper body fat can help predict certain obesity-related complications, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

If you're interested in having your child's neck size measured, consult your pediatrician or family physician.

I’m Bill Maier for family-friendly, commercial free, WBCL.

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