Your child’s metabolism could be making a significant difference in how they use the calories they consume, but without knowing your child’s metabolic rate, it’s difficult to design the optimal diet and exercise plan. Madhu Mathur, MD, MPH, of Lifestyle Medicine Center in Stamford, Connecticut, is a highly-qualified pediatrician and expert in childhood obesity who uses the latest advancements in scientific understanding of metabolism to help children lose weight effectively. Find out more about medically managed weight loss and metabolic testing for children by calling Lifestyle Medicine Center today to arrange a consultation, or book an appointment online.
Metabolic testing is a way of measuring how efficiently the body uses oxygen and burns calories. It’s a useful tool in weight management as it shows Dr. Mathur exactly how your child is using the calories they consume, which is vital to designing the most effective weight loss program.
Calories are the units of energy that the food you eat contributes to your body. You burn calories through the normal functioning of your organs and tissues, and also through physical activity. If you take in more calories than you need, the extra energy gets stored as fat, and that’s why you put on weight.
On the face of it, matching the calories your child consumes, with the amount of energy they burn each day, should keep them at the right weight. However, as metabolism varies between people, the rate at which your child burns calories could be different from the average metabolic rate, which means that they need to consume fewer calories.
During metabolic testing at Lifestyle Medicine Center, the first measurement taken is the resting metabolic rate (RMR). The RMR provides an indication of how many calories your child’s body uses when they’re not doing anything. A simple version of this test called indirect calorimetry involves using a device that compares the volume of oxygen your child takes in with the volume of carbon dioxide they let out. A mathematical formula applied to the results calculates the number of calories your child uses at rest.
After establishing your child’s RMR, it’s then necessary to find out what happens to their metabolic rate at various stages of physical activity, from mild exercise to more vigorous activity. The aerobic capacity test or maximum volume of oxygen (VO2 max) test measures the way your child’s body uses oxygen and burns calories and the intensity of exercise that achieves maximum efficiency.
Metabolic testing helps with weight management by giving you information that guides your child’s calorie intake. The RMR test allows Dr. Mathur to calculate how many calories your child needs to take in each day to provide enough energy for their bodily functions. She can then give you a guide to how much exercise your child needs to do to burn off the extra calories they consume.
For instance, once you have the information from the metabolic tests, you and your child know they need to exercise for an hour to burn off a glass of soda or some candy. You also know that a glass of water doesn’t need burning off at all, and a piece of fruit only takes five or 10 minutes to burn off.
Metabolic testing is just one of the tools Lifestyle Medicine Center uses that can help your child manage their weight more effectively. To find out more, give the center a call today, or book an appointment online.