Patient Story: Adana

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It starts when they're thirsty. You offer your child juice and it becomes their go-to drink. But when does pouring glasses of sugary beverages become hazardous to their health? For eight-year-old Adana, it was shortly after she turned five.

Pediatrician Natalia Golova, MD has been caring for Adana since she was an infant. Until her five-year physical, the girl had been growing on a normal growth curve. “Mom and dad have struggled with their weight, so I was aware of the genetic risks for Adana,” says Dr. Golova.

By her eight-year appointment, Adana’s BMI exceeded the ninety-seventh percentile, putting her in the morbidly obese category. Along with the physical damage obesity can cause, the emotional toll can be devastating. Bullying and self-esteem issues are rampant.

Dr. Golova learned a lot of juice and soda was served in the home, and that it was difficult for the family to find time to be active. She showed Adana’s parents two bottles filled with sugar, representing the amount found in each serving of juice and soda. They were shocked and committed to making a change.

“The Academy of Pediatrics recommends no juice before the age of one, and very restricted intake for toddlers and older children,” says Dr. Golova.

“Parents may perceive juice as healthy, but it’s full of sugar and empty calories.”

At Adana’s follow-up five months later, both her BMI and weight were showing signs of improvement and she was well on her way to a healthier life. The family also began bicycling each weekend for exercise.

“We know that obesity in childhood can have a significant impact on both physical and psychological health,” says Dr. Golova. “Overweight children are likely to become obese adults, putting themselves at risk of developing diabetes, heart disease, and other illnesses. We are committed to doing all we can to help children avoid that pain and suffering. Early intervention is key.”