Doctor Gives Up Thriving Pediatric Practice to Help Children With Weight Struggles
A few years ago, Pediatrician Dr. Joanna Dolgoff decided she'd had enough.
She was watching one overweight child after another enter her office. She knew the stats: One in three children are overweight and obese. And 80 percent of those kids will struggle with weight problems as adults. And she knew this problem was growing. In the past 20 years, the number of overweight kids has increased by 50 percent.
Pediatricians spend an average of 7 minutes with their patients during a visit. With immunizations, general health questions, and a parent's basic concerns, how is their possibly time to tackle the issue of weight? Adults have so many options—South Beach, Atkins, Jenny Craig, etc.—but there hasn't been a plan designed purely for kids.
So, Dr. Dolgoff made a decision. She left her practice and started out on her own. Friends and collegues thought she was crazy. But she isn't. She just wants to combat this national problem—one child at a time.
She created her own clinic in New York—Dr. Dolgoff's Weigh. The program is based on a 'traffic light system' - there are red light, yellow light, and green light foods. Dr. Dolgoff, says, "I don't believe in forbidding foods. I am instead teaching clean, healthy eating." The program is portion controlled but geared towards the specific needs a growing child faces.
With a 96 percent success rate, Dr. Dolgoff couldn't be happier, "This is the greatest thing I have ever done. I am fulfilling a need, doing what I love, and helping people. It doesn't get any better than that."
Take 10 year old J.D. for example. She lost 27 pounds in 6 months.
Dr. Dolgoff's Weigh offers kids and parents two different options—an 'In Office' program and one online. When she visits with kids in person, she is able to use their breath to learn their metabolic rate and can create a specific plan for that child in terms of diet and exercise. They typically visit her office once a week. The online program uses norms based on height, weight and gender to help kids and their parents set goals. All exercise is based on things her patients like to do.
Dr. Dolgoff often finds that the 'mom' in her overrides the 'doctor' in her. Having two small children at home, she knows it would be unfair, if not impossible to expect a child to attend a birthday party and not eat cake. So, she factors these things into her programs. She explains, "This is about developing a healthy relationship with food. It is not about what you look look. The goal is to be healthy, not skinny."
Dr. Dolgoff has plans to open clinics nationwide. Educated at Princeton and NYU School of Medicine, she is excited to be reaching families outside the immediate NYC area.