Why Obesity among Children is a Big Health Risk?

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causes of childhood obesity

The rise of childhood obesity has placed the health of an entire generation at risk”

                                                                                                           (Tom Vilsack)

Yes, you heard it right! Obesity, especially among children, is a growing epidemic all over the world. That’s why it’s very important to take care of your child’s health from now on! Trust me, buddy, if you don’t look after your little one properly, obesity will take a toll on your child’s health at some point in time!

But before that, you should know what are the possible causes of childhood obesity?

Well, your child can be obese for many reasons, including medical or genetic ones! But usually, children are overweight because of having unhealthy foods and leading a sedentary lifestyle!

Causes of Childhood Obesity

A report by the World Health Organization (WHO) says, the main cause of childhood obesity and obesity is an imbalance of energy between calories consumed and calories expended!

Besides, there can be some other possible causes of childhood obesity like:-

  1. Environmental factors
  2. Lack of physical activity
  3. Hereditary and family
  4. Food choices

1. Environmental factors

It plays a major role in shaping the habits and perceptions of children. The television commercials promoting unhealthy foods and eating habits are also one of the contributors.

Besides, portion sizes increase when people eat outside than when they eat at home! Beverages like soda, juice boxes, etc. can also cause obesity in children.

2. Lack of physical activity

In recent times, most of the children are more engrossed in smartphones and television. Thereby, “physical activity” has become confined to recess time or physical education classes at school only. As a result, there is a decrease in overall physical activity in children.

3. Hereditary and family

Some rare genetic disorders cause severe childhood obesity. A study shows that genetics plays a pivotal role in obesity. So, if you and your spouse are overweight, your child is more likely to put on weight!

4. Food choices

One of the causes of childhood obesity is bad food choices! Children who have foods with high calories but low in nutrients are more likely to become obese.

Health risks of obesity in children

The consequences of childhood obesity can lead to various complications in your child’s physical, social, and emotional well being, like:-

  1. Cardiovascular disease
  2. Type 2 diabetes
  3. NAFLD
  4. Asthma
  5. Learning problems
  6. Low self-esteem
  7. Sleep disorders

1. Cardiovascular disease

Well, bodyweight is directly related to various cardiovascular risk factors. The reason being, as BMI (Body Mass Index) increases, it increases the kid’s blood pressure, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, blood sugar, and inflammation.

High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase the risk of heart disease in obese children. Your child can develop one or both of these conditions due to a poor diet. The reason being, foods containing high fat and salt can cause cholesterol and blood pressure to rise!

2. Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a condition where your body won’t be able to metabolize glucose properly. It can lead to eye diseases, nerve problems, and even kidney dysfunction! The more fat deposited in the body, the greater the risk of developing diabetes. As a result, children who are overweight are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes due to the development of insulin resistance.

3. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)

It causes fatty deposits to build up in the liver. NAFLD can result in scarring and even damage to the liver!

4. Asthma

Well, asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung’s airways. And when it is associated with obesity, it is more harmful.

However, it doesn’t mean that an obese child will necessarily develop asthma! But as I said, it can be one of the health risks of obesity!

5. Behavior and learning problems

Obese children are more likely to be more anxious. And thereby, they might have lower social skills. As a result, obese children may act out or disrupt their classrooms or withdraw socially.

6. Low self-esteem

Some children tease or bully their overweight peers. This can lead to loss of self-esteem and increase the risk of depression in children who are obese!

7. Sleep disorders

Obese children may also suffer from sleep disorders like excessive snoring and sleep apnea (a serious sleep disorder in which a child’s breathing repeatedly stops and starts when he/she is sleeping).

Now, you might ask me how will you understand that your child is obese?

Well, don’t be tense! Firstly, go through the facts about childhood obesity. Please understand, carrying some extra pounds doesn’t necessarily mean that a child is obese! The reason being, children carry different amounts of weight at different stages of development.

So, to know whether or not your child is obese, you need to find out his/her BMI. It provides a guideline of how body weight is related to height. 

You can use the growth charts, the BMI card, and other tests to figure out if your child is overweight!

Symptoms of childhood obesity

Besides, you can consider some of the common symptoms of childhood obesity like:

  • The child has stretch marks on his/her hips and abdomen. Besides, a dark, velvety skin, occurring in and around the child’s neck, known as Acanthosis nigricans. Also, check whether or not there is any fatty tissue deposition in the breast area.
  • The child is suffering from shortness of breath when he/she is physically active.
  • The child has eating disorders. And he/she has a craving for junk food. As a result, the kid might suffer from constipation, gastroesophageal reflux, etc.
  • In the case of a girl child, she might reach early puberty along with irregular menstrual cycles.

And delayed puberty in boys and their genitals may appear disproportionately small.

By the way, is your child putting on too much weight? Or is he/she having any one of the above symptoms?

Don’t worry! In that case, you can take your kid to a child health clinic in Kolkata and talk to the doctor! Besides, you can make the following lifestyle changes to fight obesity in your child, like:

  • Increase his/her physical activity
  • Engage the kids more in family activities
  • Reduce his/her on-screen time
  • Get a weight loss diet plan for your child

The bottom line is, childhood obesity is an alarming issue all over the world. But with proper education and support, this problem can be fought!

Help your children to stay healthy and fit by motivating them to have healthy foods and do plenty of exercises!