APRIL 2, 2012
Jacqueline Sikoski, MS,RD,LN with Michele Dandrea, Dietitian Intern

It’s no secret that child obesity is on the rise in the United States; the percentage of obese children has nearly tripled from 1994 to 2008. Montana is lower than the national average with 26% of children ages 10-17 years who are overweight or obese. These statistics suggest that the next generation will be burdened with rising incidents of chronic disease and shorter life expectancies. Agencies across the nation are bringing more attention to factors that affect childhood obesity, such as school lunches, physical activity as well as parent and child nutrition education. 
Obesity in children poses the same health risks seen in adults including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type-2 diabetes. Evidence suggests that 70% of obese children have at least one risk for cardiovascular disease and 39% have two or more risk factors. Obese children are also prone to respiratory problems, fatty liver disease, joint pain and heartburn. Obese children commonly develop social and psychological problems which can contribute to depression. The good news is that obesity is preventable, and it’s not too late to improve the health of a child who is already overweight or obese.

What can you do for your child?
Be a good example: Modeling a healthy lifestyle is the most important thing you can do for yourself and your child. Avoid using food as reward or punishment, help your child develop a healthy relationship with food; educate them on how healthy foods provide energy and will allow them to grow up healthy. Parents are responsibility for providing healthy meals and snacks; allow your child to make choices on how much they eat; this will teach them to listen to their body when it says ‘I’ve had enough’ and avoid overeating.

Hold regular family meals: Offer meals and snacks at the same time every day and minimize grazing. No matter what you have for meals, eat them together. This simple change can have an amazing impact on your child’s relationship with food.

Be patient and positive: Make food fun by having them help shop, read food labels and prepare healthy foods. Consult a professional dietitian to determine if your child needs to actively lose weight or maintain until they reach a healthy weight to height ratio.

Use the healthy plate method: The USDA website has basic recommendations for healthy lifestyle changes and examples for offering a variety of healthy foods in the appropriate portion size. It’s a good idea to set limits on sweets but not to deny the occasional treat. A good practice is to set the limits such as 1 or 2 pre-portioned sweets/day <150 calories (1/2 c. low fat ice cream or 2 small cookies) and let your child chose which treat they prefer. This gives the child the final choice and helps avoid food battles, sneaking or bingeing in response to restrictions.

Encourage activity: Get up and move! Sports, hiking, biking, swimming, walking the dog, fitness or dancing video games, actively play together! It is recommended children actively play for 60-minutes daily. Encourage group activities your child enjoys to keep them motivated and having fun.

For more information, contact Bozeman Deaconess Nutrition Specialists at 406-522-4600.


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Family Medicine


Recognized by National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) Physician Practice Connections—Patient-Centered Medical Home program for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. Practices receiving recognition are Bozeman Deaconess Belgrade Clinic, Bridger Internal Medicine, Spinelli Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine Associates, and Family Medicine and Pediatrics.


Generally speaking, a family medicine doctor is a full spectrum physician who treats all members of the family providing continuous and comprehensive health care.

Bozeman Deaconess Family Medicine physicians deliver a range of acute, chronic, and preventive medical care services. In addition to diagnosing and treating illness, they provide preventive care, including routine checkups, health-risk assessments, immunizations, and screening tests, as well as personalized counseling on maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Family physicians manage chronic illness, while coordinating care provided by other sub specialists.

Our family medicine physicians enjoy being a part of the whole family. Knowing the dynamics of multiple generations and caring for each is part of their approach to good medical care for the entire family.

Medical Home

Medical Home is a team-led, patient-centered approach to health care, where the patient is the most important player on their healthcare team. The patient and the medical home team develop a plan of care created specifically for the patient, focuses on wellness and prevention, keeps the patient connected with the health care team and coordinates care with other health care providers.

Bozeman Deaconess Health Group clinics each received NCQA Level 3 Patient Centered Medical Home honors
Bozeman Deaconess Belgrade Clinic, Bridger Internal Medicine, Spinelli Internal Medicine, Internal Medicine Associates and Family Medicine and Pediatrics are recognized by the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) for using evidence-based, patient-centered processes that focus on highly coordinated care and long-term participative relationships. 

Recipient of 2011 Lighthouse Award for Innovation and Excellence in Immunization
Bozeman Deaconess Family Medicine and Pediatrics was awarded a 2011 Lighthouse Award for Innovation and Excellence in Immunization from the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. The award, presented to a medical clinic in recognition of an outstanding immunization project, recognizes strategies that are evidence-based, evaluated for success and able to be replicated in other clinics.


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