When you look at the problem with childhood obesity, many people want to blame the schools, fast food or video games. But experts say it is a combination of factors that includes the child's family and their habits. That's why this program is not just for the kids, it's for the entire family.
14 year-old Michael Smith is quiet but determined. He and his mom, Karen have taken on a new challenge that he suggested.
Karen Smith, Michael's mother, told Action News, "He really kept on me that he wants to lose this weight."
Michael was born a preemie and had trouble gaining weight up until he was about 6 years old. By age 11, he was overweight. At age 13, he weighed 297 pounds. He and his mom worry about health problems like heart disease and diabetes. So they decided to join Dr. Charlie Seltzer's weight loss program.
Dr. Seltzer, a medical doctor by day and body-builder by night, says when he helps children lose weight and get healthy he gets the whole family on-board.
"I do not think it's possible to treat any member of the family without treating anybody else," Dr. Seltzer said. "It's especially true with pediatrics because most of the kids' habits are going to be learned from their parents."
So Karen knows in order for Michael to succeed, she has to lose weight too. They've been exercising four times a week and slowly making changes to their diet. Every family in the program has a plan tailored just for them.
"I look at what they are doing now and make changes over time to get it better rather than give them a piece of paper and saying follow this diet and this exercise plan because that doesn't work in the real world," Dr. Seltzer says.
Karen says it's a practical approach and Michael tells Action News that it's working.
"It's been going pretty good," Michael told us. "I was proud of myself for losing a bunch of pounds of weight and I thought I wasn't going to lose it."
He's lost 20 pounds so far over 5 months. The goal is to get him to a healthy weight. Karen is optimistic.
"I want him to succeed at this goal and I know he can do it. I want him to have a happy life, normal childhood."
Right now Michael and his mom check in with Dr. Seltzer every week. We will also check back with him and let you know how he is doing.
If you would like more information on Dr. Seltzer's program, Follow this link for more information.