STAMFORD, Conn. -- In her native India, where she worked as a pediatrician, Dr. Madhu Mathur said malnutrition was an issue for children whose families struggled to put food on the table.
In the United States, lack of food is not often a factor. But she said malnutrition still is an issue.
"What they are eating is calorie dense but nutrient deficient,” she said. "It is malnutrition, but it is at the other end of the spectrum.”
Mathur, a Greenwich resident, operates the Lifestyle Medical Center at 2777 Summer St. in Stamford.
Born and raised in India, she moved to the United States in 1997. In 2001, she began working as a hospitalist at Stamford Hospital.
She continued working as a pediatrician and for a decade was involved with obesity-related issues before deciding to branch out on her own this year.
Mathur works with younger children and teenagers, as well with young adults who have struggled with obesity.
In many cases, the children suffer from poor self image and have poor eating habits, eating a lot of food that often doesn't supply them with the nutrients they need.
"They eat a big meal but soon they are hungry again," she said.
She helps educate them on proper eating habits and cutting out sugar and fatty foods, without denying themselves some pleasures, she said. Mathur said she will tell her patients that when they go out to eat, they should avoid having both a sugary drink and a dessert and instead choose one of them.
"I teach them about choices," she said. “I show them how to have balance in their meals. I teach them what their portions should be and the results are amazing."
She's careful to note that controlling weight is more than simply losing weight. Often, when people lose weight through a diet, they lose muscle. Instead, Mathur said, her clients have to look at losing weight while building muscle and most importantly losing fat mass.
The patients also can work out out the office with a personal trainer as one room is set aside with a treadmill, rowing machine and bicycle machine.
As well, she also tells them to use the training tool that superfit athletes, like boxers, have used for decades.
"I tell them to get a jump rope," she said.
Becoming healthy and losing weight is not about following a strict diet. Instead, she said, she helps them to learn some meal options that are tasty but also healthy and has them look at new options for pizzas, wraps and tacos that are not only tasty but also healthy and filling.
They can learn about simple food preparation at her office by learning to create simple, quick and healthy meals in the small kitchen.
In a few months, many of her patients shed pounds, get in better shape, but most importantly learn to eat healthy, she said.
"It is amazing how they feel so much better about themselves and often their families feel much better, too," she said.
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