LONG BRANCH, NJ — Monmouth Medical Center pediatric endocrinologist Mike Barrows, D.O., has dedicated his professional life to helping obese kids and their families adopt healthier lifestyles.
In his personal life, the Shrewsbury resident, who has competed in lifeguard tournaments for more than 20 years and holds five United States National Ironman titles, serves as a role model to his patients, inspiring them to follow his fitness footsteps.
The chief of pediatric endocrinology for The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center recently won two first place awards in the American and International Ironman events (35-39 age group); second place in the Surf-Swim competition and ninth in the Open Surfboat Race at the 2011 U.S. Lifesaving Association’s (USLA) National Lifeguard Championships in Cape May.
In 2010, Dr. Barrows achieved his most prestigious accomplishment in his competitive career with a second place finish in the Open Age Division of the American Ironman event at the United States Lifeguarding Association’s (USLA) National Lifeguard Championships in Huntington Beach, Calif. This event involves a quarter-mile swim, a third-of-a-mile board paddling, half-a-mile of rowing, with quarter-mile runs between each discipline. Close to 1000 surf lifesaving guards from NJ, Florida, California, Texas, Australia, and Hawaii compete at this event. He is a member of the Monmouth County National Team that took second place overall at the 2011 National event.
He has been a Jersey Shore life guard since the age of 15, making well over 100 rescues during his summer duty, which he continues on a part time basis at Sea Girt even as a practicing physician. In addition to water rescues, Dr. Barrows has assisted beachgoers who have been injured, experienced febrile seizures, had diabetic complications, and other medical emergencies. His years as an ocean lifeguard helped to shape Dr. Barrow’s interest in medicine.
“You are helping people in need of assistance on the beach and I see a connection between that and my medical pursuits,” he relates. “They both involve serving the community and providing protection.”
Dr. Barrows is the section chief of the Center for Disorders of Insulin and Metabolism at The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, where he and his colleagues specialize in treating diabetes, thyroid conditions and other endocrinopathies in infants, children and adolescents. The center’s Pediatric Obesity Program provides a blame-free, supportive environment to help overweight youngsters lose weight and live healthier through a multidisciplinary team consisting of three physicians, 2 certified nutritionists, 3 certified diabetes educators, a social worker, and child psychologist.
Sometimes, before Dr. Barrows meets a patient, the nurse will share some details of his lifeguarding accomplishments with the youngster.
Return patients ask Dr. Barrows about his time on the beach and next competition. Several have become involved in junior lifeguard programs.
“The kids really do follow my competitions and seem to be motivated by it,” he says. “I think it is important to practice what you preach. We are asking these children to exercise four to five times per week and they are smart enough to identify that there is no hypocrisy in this recommendation on my behalf. They see that even an adult who is working and busy can find the time to be disciplined and exercise.”
For his training, Dr. Barrows swims six times a week for up to two hours per day with the New Jersey Race Club (NJRC) swim team, as well as cross-training with rowing, board paddling, surf-skiing, and running. To accommodate his hectic schedule, exercise is often done twice daily at 5a.m. and after work hours.
“Dr. Barrows is an inspiration to all of our pediatric patients,” says Meg Fisher, M.D., FAAP, Medical Director of The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center. “A healthy body facilitates a healthy mind, and anything that motivates children to exercise is a positive at a time of skyrocketing pediatric obesity rates nationally.”
For more information about Dr. Barrows or The Center for Disorders of Insulin and Metabolism at The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center, call 732-935-7143.
May 31, 2012
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