Meg Farris / Eyewitness News
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NEWORLEANS-- A local doctor says childhood obesity is a crisis that's not only hurting their physical health, but their mental health as well.

Now he says it's time for families to get involved and make change.
And he says all it takes is three simple steps in life to prevent and reverse the health crisis.

The world around us is making us sick and die young.

'We are easily led astray. Human beings easily make bad decisions if put in the wrong situation,' explained Dr. Kristopher Kaliebe, an assistant professor of psychiatry at LSU Health Sciences Center, who is board certified in child, forensic and general psychiatry.

Dr. Kaliebe sees lots of children with mental and physical health problems from lifestyle and families caught up in dysfunctional patterns.

'We have kids that, through no fault of their own, have already gotten into these patterns of living that has injured their bodies and their minds and put them really behind in life,' He said.

So he has devised a new approach to prevent and treat the complex problem of childhood obesity and related mental disorders. Using heuristics, or mental shortcuts, it offers parents and caregivers three simple family-oriented goals, or 'rules of thumb.'

  1. Eat real food, but not too much. Make sure the bulk is from plants. You'll naturally get more nutrition and fewer calories than eating processed and packaged foods full of chemicals.
  2. Get up and move. Humans are not built to sit most of the day.
  3. Honor silence. Sensory overload from popular culture, gaming, advertising, media and electronics, crowds out important things such as family, school, sleep, and exploring and finding other interests.

'We have to stop doing this to our kids and the medical community has to take more of a lead. I mean, for many years, we knew that smoking killed people but the medical community sat back and really didn't do very much. Now it's lifestyle that's killing people,' Dr. Kaliebe said.

The doctor says habits have profound effects.

Don't stress over the occasional special treat on a holiday or birthday celebration, but be strict about everyday routines.

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