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Obesity in children and risks associated with it

by | Published: | Updated: 01/04/2018


Per World Health Organization, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century, affecting many low- and middle-income countries.

Children who have a body mass index (BMI) at the same level or higher than 95 percent of their peers are considered to be obese. BMI is a tool used to determine your “weight status.” BMI is calculated using your height and weight. 

Childhood obesity is a serious health threat to children. Kids in the obese category have surpassed simply being overweight and are at risk for a number of chronic health conditions. Poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood.

Childhood obesity doesn’t just affect physical health. Children and teens who are overweight or obese can become depressed and have poor self-image and self-esteem.

Causes of Obesityin Children

There are many factors which may cause obesity in children, few important ones are listed here:

  • A poor diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause kids to gain weight quickly.
  • Frozen dinners, salty snacks, and canned pastas, can also contribute to unhealthy weight gain
  • Not enough physical activity can be another cause of childhood obesity.
  • Psychological issues may also lead to obesity in some children. Kids and teens who are bored, stressed, or depressed may eat more to cope with negative emotions.
  • Hereditary - Children whose parents or other family members are overweight or obese are more likely to follow suit. 


Health risks with obesity in children

Children who are obese have a higher risk of developing health problems than their peers who maintain a healthy weight such as: 

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Asthma
  • Sleep Disorder
  • Joint Pain


Social effect of obesity

Obese children often display poorer social skills, continual low self-esteem and hopelessnessthan their normal weight peers. These kids may have high risk of: 

  • Targets of Bullying
  • Poor Social Integration
  • Depression


Childhood obesity is a serious issue in today’s world no matter where do you live. But this can be easily overcome with proper education and support, children can learn healthier ways to cope with their problems, healthy meals, and stay active. Adults in their lives such as elder siblings, parents, teachers should become the support system they need to be disciplined and overcome this. Parents may take professional help as well to address these.

Also read: Why do teens like to argue so much and what can parents do about it?

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