According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years. In Arkansas, more than one third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. ACHI goes on to report that Arkansas children are now being diagnosed with chronic diseases typically found in adults.
Dr. Kyler Crary, a pediatrician with CHI St. Vincent Primary Care in Little Rock, is doing what he can to combat these disturbing statistics.
Q: What led you to pursue pediatrics?
A: I decided on pediatrics early on in medical school when I became frustrated with the vast number of adults that didn’t take care of themselves medically. We tend to take much better care of our children than we do ourselves, and I found that refreshing. I love kids, and the most challenging part of my career is delivering bad news. Luckily, I don’t have to do it very often, but it breaks my heart when I do.
Q: Are you a native Arkansan?
A: I was born in Nevada but spent my first five years in Texas before moving to Raton, New Mexico. My parents still live there. My wife, Shelley, who is a pediatric hematologist/oncologist is originally from Cabot so we came here to be closer to her family when a job opened up for her at another hospital. Shelley and I live with our 10-year-old, Sydney, in Little Rock.
Q: Where did you go to medical school?
A: I went to both college and medical school at Tulane University in New Orleans. I then did my residency in pediatrics at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tennessee.
Q: What can parents, guardians or other adults do to help you effectively treat your young patients?
A: The most helpful thing is a good story, and what I mean by that is this: parents are their children’s historians, and a complete, comprehensive story about what happened before they came to see me is especially important – as important as a physical exam – when it comes to arriving at an accurate diagnosis. Something you think could be a minor detail or insignificant could make all the difference in helping your child get well.
I want parents to know that we are in this together. A child’s health care is a partnership between parents and their pediatrician, and it’s important to make sure everyone is on board with and understands every plan of care, from which immunizations to give to how to treat an illness to injury prevention.
Q: What one piece of advice would you give to adults about raising healthy children?
A: Don’t be afraid to expose your child to new things. New experiences make us stronger, both mentally and physically. New germs or possible allergens, as well as vaccines, improve our immune system, and trying, and even failing at, a new activity builds character.