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December 29, 2012

Regional health-care providers focus on child obesity

MORRISONVILLE — At 14, Emily Goff faces many of the challenges that teen girls deal with in their lives.

But with help from her family and local agencies and health-care providers, Emily has been able to conquer one of those: being overweight.

HEADACHES

“Emily has struggled with her weight all her life,” said her mom, Darcie Goff. “About a year ago, she started experiencing problems with headaches and nausea, and we didn’t really know what the problem was.”

At first, Darcie and her husband, Kevin Goff Jr., brought Emily to the eye doctor, thinking that a strain on her eyesight might be causing the headaches, but when that unveiled no cause for the recurring problems, they turned to Emily’s pediatrician for help.

Subsequent tests revealed a condition called pseudotumor cerebri, which mimics the symptoms of a brain tumor when pressure inside the skull increases for no apparent reason.

“The body tricks itself into believing it has a brain tumor,” Darcie explained in layperson terms. “It is common for young girls Emily’s age who are slightly obese.”

CHANGED LIFESTYLE

Doctors agreed that weight loss might be an effective response to the symptoms, and the Goff family decided to get behind their daughter’s needs and change their eating habits to include healthier choices.

“It’s not really a diet,” Darcie said of the healthier choices they have made. “We’re just focusing on eating more fruits and vegetables, eliminating the bad carbs from breads, pastas and potatoes.”

The change has been tremendous for Emily and her 12-year-old brother, Mark. Emily has lost 95 pounds since the family improved their food choices, and Mark has lost 50 pounds.

“All of the symptoms, the headaches — they’re completely gone,” Darcie said. “Both Emily and Mark are much more active than they were before losing the weight.”

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