Obesity in Children

Updated at: May 12, 2015
Obesity in Children

The problem of childhood obesity in India is increasing steadily as in developed countries. And childhood obesity has become a common problem in children from affluent families.

Editorial Team
ObesityWritten by: Editorial TeamPublished at: Feb 24, 2011

Is your child obese? If you ask this question to parents most of them will feel offended. In India most parents have the mistaken notion that a fat child is a healthy child. The problem of childhood obesity in India is increasing steadily as in developed countries. And childhood obesity has become a common problem in children from affluent families.

Obesity is easy to diagnose but very difficult to treat.


What is obesity?


If your child’s weight is just a few pounds more than the healthy weight it is not considered as obesity. For children body weight more than 10 percent higher than the recommended weight for the height, age and sex is considered as obese. In children obesity generally starts between the ages of 5 and 6 or during adolescence.
According to studies obese children are likely to become obese adults.


What causes obesity?


There are many factors that decide body weight and tendency for weight gain like genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors. A person gains weight or become obese if the calorie consumption is more than required or more than the body burns up.
The risk of obesity in children is increased if the parents are obese. Most children are obese due excess intake of calories and less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused due to medical problem.


Some cause of obesity in children and adolescence are

  • Eating habits like overeating or binging
  • lack of physical activity or exercise
  • Obese parents or family history of obesity
  • Medical problems like endocrine diseases, neurological problems
  • Certain medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • Stressful events like separations, divorce, changing school, moving, deaths, abuse
  • Family problems
  • Low self-esteem, peer pressure
  • Depression or other emotional problems


Physical problems

  • Type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance: children who are obese and who have type 2 diabetes running in their family are at an increased risk of suffering from this disease.
  • High blood pressure and abnormal blood fat levels (cholesterol and triglycerides) leading to heart diseases.
  • Joint or bone problems: excess weight on developing bones and cartilage can have damaging effects.
  • Breathing problems like shortness of breath which sometimes can lead to asthma.
  • Irregular sleep patterns or sleep related problems like Obstructive Sleep Apnea.
  • Liver and gallbladder ailments
  • Fertility issues in both genders; girls may develop polycystic ovary syndrome


Psychological problems

  • Depression: obese children often suffer from depression due to poor body image and social discrimination which they face.
  • Low self-esteem: being ridiculed and jeered at makes obese children suffer from low self-worth.
  • Social discrimination which can lead to the child becoming a loner.
  • Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia
  • Can be prone to fatalistic behavior like substance abuse.

Read more articles on Obesity.



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