Austin (KXAN) - About one-third of Austin children are considered overweight or obese, and in some parts of town, the number is more like two-thirds. The national epidemic is now the focus of NBC's The Biggest Loser , and it has pediatricians talking. An Austin pediatrician wants parents and children to talk about it, so he is taking to social media.
NBC's The Biggest Loser is known for helping overweight and obese adults make huge changes in their lives. In this season, the show's trainers are also hoping three children, one 13 years old and two 16 years old, can make changes too.
"This is important," said The Biggest Loser trainer Jillian Michaels. "It's important personally. It's important globally.
It is the first time the show has focused on childhood obesity, and it has an Austin pediatrician and others watching closely.
"Kids who are challenged by their weight are going to be more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety and low self esteem," Austin pediatrician Dr. Stephen Pont with the Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity at Dell Children's Medical Center. "We know that making changes period is hard for everybody. With kids in particular we really want to be careful about how we address making these changes so we can do it in a positive way and productive way."
Dr. Stephen Pont encourages parents to watch the show with their children, especially if the children are overweight because of the emotions involved.
The show's trainers say they will be gentler with the children than the adults and not push the kids to the breaking point. The emphasis is bringing change to the child's entire family. That change in the family is paramount, Dr. Pont says, in helping overweight children in addition to making "small" changes and staying positive.
"Wearing the pediatrician hat I just hope that the kids who watch the show take good points away from it and don't become saddened and don't think they can make any big changes if they don't go on the biggest loser," said Dr. Pont.
Dr. Pont and other pediatricians take their concerns and praise to Twitter during Monday night's show. Follow the conversation starting at 7 p.m. Monday on NBC at #PedsDocsBL.
President Barack Obama has ordered federal aid to help state and local recovery efforts in areas of Central Texas hit with severe storms and flooding in late October.
The decision to sentence a Fort Worth teenager to probation for the drunk driving accident which killed four people has touched a nerve with many in the legal community across the state and country.
The first death in Travis County attributed to the H1N1 virus has been confirmed, according to Austin-Travis County Health and Human Services. A second death is being investigated.
A father surprised his son after returning from a year-long military tour in Afghanistan by presenting him with his award during his school's holiday show.
Six charter schools across the state, including one in Austin, are being ordered to close their doors due to a history of underperformance.
The Texas unemployment rate continues to fall modestly, dipping to 6.1 percent in November.