Perspectives on childhood obesityBy Mayo Clinic staff
Original Article: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/childhood-obesity/MY01440
- With Mayo Clinic nutritionists
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.read biographyclose window
Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.Katherine Zeratsky and Jennifer Nelson
Jennifer K. Nelson, M.S., R.D., L.D., C.N.S.D.
Jennifer Nelson is your link to a better diet. As specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, she plays a vital role in bringing you healthy recipes and meal planning.
"Nutrition is one way people have direct control over the quality of their lives," she says. "I hope to translate the science of nutrition into ways that people can select and prepare great-tasting foods that help maintain health and treat disease."
A St. Paul, Minn., native, she has been with Mayo Clinic since 1978, and is director of clinical dietetics and an associate professor of nutrition at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine.
She leads clinical nutrition efforts for a staff of more than 60 clinical dietitians and nine dietetic technicians and oversees nutrition services, staffing, strategic and financial planning, and quality improvement. Nelson was co-editor of the "Mayo Clinic Diet" and the James Beard Foundation Award-winning "The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook." She has been a contributing author to and reviewer of many other Mayo Clinic books, including "Mayo Clinic Healthy Weight for EveryBody," "The Mayo Clinic Family Health Book" and "The Mayo Clinic/Williams Sonoma Cookbook." She contributes to the strategic direction of the Food & Nutrition Center, which includes creating recipes and menus, reviewing nutrition content of various articles, and providing expert answers to nutrition questions.
Katherine Zeratsky, R.D., L.D.
As a specialty editor of the nutrition and healthy eating guide, Katherine Zeratsky helps you sort through the facts and figures, the fads and the hype to learn more about nutrition and diet.
A Marinette, Wis., native, she is certified in dietetics by the state of Minnesota and the American Dietetic Association. She has been with Mayo Clinic since 1999.
She's active in nutrition-related curriculum and course development in wellness nutrition at Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and nutrition related to weight management and practical applications of nutrition-related lifestyle changes.
Other areas of interest include food and nutrition for all life stages, active lifestyles and the culinary arts.
She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, served a dietetic internship at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, and worked as a registered dietitian and health risk counselor at ThedaCare of Appleton, Wis., before joining the Mayo Clinic staff.
- A day in the life of diabetes
Nov. 5, 2013
- Kitchen fires
Oct. 30, 2013
- What is a good ileostomy diet?
Oct. 16, 2013
- Food insecurity still a problem for many
Oct. 9, 2013
- Is the Mediterranean diet more than a diet?
Oct. 2, 2013
Sept. 15, 2010
Perspectives on childhood obesity
By Jennifer Nelson, M.S., R.D. and Katherine Zeratsky, R.D.
When I began my career as a dietitian, it was very rare that a child was ever put on a diet. It was thought that making children diet could do more harm than good. Rather, the approach was to let children grow into their weight. Today, however, the reality is that many children won't grow into their weight even at their adult height.
Children as young as 4 to 6 years are at weights that would be associated with someone 5 feet or taller. That means many years of being overweight or obese. Although I realize that weight loss may be appropriate for these children, my early training stills sends up a warning signal.
As parents and concerned community members, we must recognize and combat the dangers of childhood obesity. These dangers range from the health of our children to the financial future of our nation. An adult having an awareness of childhood obesity is one thing — a kid having an awareness of childhood obesity is another. In our concern for our children's health, we can't lose sight of what it's like to be a kid. No child likes being singled out and possibly teased about his or her appearance or health.
So as we move forward with our efforts, let's keep a focus on protecting our children. Let's be respectful and supportive. As adults, we will carry the worry about the health risks and health care costs. Kids on other hand should be taught to know that food is fuel to keep their bodies healthy. They need to see that moving and using our bodies is fun, the norm, and not a task. They need to learn to make healthy choices.
There are many exciting efforts and opportunities for schools and communities to shape kids' attitudes about food, exercise and healthy lifestyles. I'm going to share a few with you in upcoming blogs. Please, share what you and your community are doing. Maybe your idea will catch on.
To our children's health,