When Amy Porter began her career as a pediatrician some 20 years ago, it was rare to see children whose weight posed a threat to their health and well-being. But by the late 1990s, the La Cañada resident began to notice children were presenting health problems typically seen only in adults — high blood pressure, diabetes and even weak knee joints. Today, 20% to 30% of all her patients are overweight or obese.
“After you get a certain number of them, you can’t just send them to a specialist. You need to know what to do,” she says.
That’s when Porter, who worked at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park, became part of an effort to prevent juvenile diabetes throughout Southern California. When she wasn’t seeing patients, she was helping lead awareness campaigns designed to help professionals identify, track and advise at-risk children. Today, she is the lead physician in Kaiser’s Pediatric Weight Management program.