Childhood obesity is a medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It doesn’t just affect physical health. Children and teens who are overweight or have obesity can become depressed and have poor self-esteem. Poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood.
Causes of Childhood Obesity
Family history, psychological factors, and lifestyle all play a role in childhood obesity. Children whose parents or other family members are overweight or have obese are more likely to follow suit. But the main cause of childhood obesity is a combination of eating too much and exercising too little.
A poor diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause kids to gain weight quickly. Fast food, candy, and soft drinks are common culprits. Convenience foods, such as frozen dinners, salty snacks can also contribute to unhealthy weight gain. Some children develop obesity because their parents don’t know how to choose or prepare healthy foods. Other families may not be able to easily afford fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats.
Not enough physical activity can also be another cause of childhood obesity. People of all ages tend to gain weight when they’re less active. Exercise burns calories and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Children who aren’t encouraged to be active may be less likely to burn extra calories through sports, time on the playground, or other forms of physical activity.
Risks Factors with Childhood Obesity
It causes some other unhealthy issues including:
- Joint Pain: Your child may also experience joint stiffness, pain, and limited range of motion from carrying excess weight. In many cases, losing weight can eliminate joint problems.
- Diabetes: Children and adults who are overweight are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. However, the condition may be reversible through diet and lifestyle changes.
- Heart Disease: High cholesterol and high blood pressure raise the risk of future heart disease in children with obesity. Foods that are high in fat and salt may cause cholesterol and blood pressure levels to rise. Heart attack and stroke are two potential complications of heart disease.
- Asthma: Asthma is a chronic inflammation of the lung’s airways. Obesity is the most common comorbidity with asthma, but researchers aren’t sure exactly how the two conditions are linked. That obesity may be a risk factor for more severe asthma in some, but not all, people with obesity.
- Sleeping Disorders: It leads to sleep disorders, such as excessive snoring and sleep apnea. Extra weight in the neck area can block their airways.