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Pediatrician Tackles Childhood Obesity

With obesity among children and young adults at an all-time high in the United States, Dr. Madhu Mathur of Greenwich is trying to make children and their families aware of what they're eating and doing.

"I've been a pediatrician for a long time, and after doing my residency and working in clinics, I wanted to do more, " said Mathur, who grew up in India. "The most important thing that struck me was that obesity was on the horizon."

As medical director for the Children's Health Center, adviser to the Connecticut Department of Public Health and chairwoman of the Obesity Task Force in Stamford, Mathur has her hands full.

"I was coordinating things for children with special needs and major health problems. But the little problems that will become major tomorrow, I was doing nothing about," she said. "I was in talks with different people whom I asked for a grant to start nutrition and parenting workshops to help battle obesity."

A number of groups, including Stamford Hospital, the Stamford schools, Stamford Youth Foundation and the Childcare Learning Centers, have teamed to make people more aware. Mathur said the centers are now offering healthier menus, cooking classes for children and their parents, nutritional classes, exercise groups and a 12-week lifestyle course. The 12-week session is known as Kid's Fitness and Nutritional Services or Kid's FAN, which offer children one-on-one attention with specialists.

When Mathur is not in the office or working on her various projects, she enjoys oil painting and being involved in the Art Society of Old Greenwich.

"I believe that I have made a difference" Mathur said. "We have received such support to fund these programs." She also believes that children are now becoming aware of healthy options and will retain those habits for life.

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