A child is considered obese when they have significantly more weight than the ideal weight for their height. Children, like adults, tend to become obese when they eat more than their body can use. It is calculated using Body Mass Index, which measures weight relative to height. Body Mass Index is available online as a child obesity chart. Being obese is directly connected with developing non-communicable diseases like heart problems. Childhood Obesity COVID-19 is likely to impact childhood obesity levels, as per a report, negatively. Childhood obesity reduction and prevention strategies must remain a priority during the lockdown and pandemic.

Childhood Obesity Causes

The major contributor to Childhood Obesity causes and effects is erratic lifestyle habits. Having too much calorie-rich food and little to no physical activity is the prime cause across all cases of a child becoming obese. However, genetics, environmental, and hormonal factors also play a significant role.

Childhood Obesity Risk Factors

Usually, several factors combine to increase the risk of obesity. Here are the significant factors:

  • Diet: Regular consumption of high-calorie foods such as fried foods, candies, sugar-loaded drinks, fast foods, desserts, and sports drinks can cause your child to become overweight.
  • Exercise: Children who do little to no physical activity are likely to become overweight because they do not burn as many calories as they consume. When a child spends most of the time in sedentary activities like playing video games and watching television, the problem becomes grave. TV programs feature attractive ads for unhealthy foods, making them look desirable.
  • Genetics: If your child belongs to the lineage of obese people, they are likely to gain weight. The child will likely be overweight if the environment does not encourage physical work and calorie-rich food is readily available.
  • Psychological Factors: Some children might consume more unhealthy food to deal with problems or emotions, fight stress, or kill boredom. Junk food tends to become comfort food. Personal, parental, and family stress increases the tendency to eat unhealthy food and weight gain.
  • Socioeconomic Factors: Some people live in areas with limited access to healthy foods and limited resources. As a result, they tend to buy foods that are conveniently available and cheaper. This generally leads to unhealthy foods like cookies, frozen foods, and ready-to-eat meals. Also, low-income neighborhoods usually do not have space dedicated to exercise.
  • Medications: Some prescription medicines like steroids can increase the risk of child obesity and complications.

Childhood Obesity Effects

Obesity increases the risk of developing gastrointestinal conditions. Are you not sure about what gastroenterology is or what a gastrologist is? When you are worried about your child and obesity issues, then you need to understand the gastrologist’s meaning. It can help to know that obesity can directly cause gastroesophageal reflux disease, diarrhea, liver disease, and others. Of the several adverse effects, obesity is associated with gastrointestinal inflammation, increasing the risk of pediatric ulcers. This raises the concern that stomach ulcers are dangerous. Diagnosing a stomach ulcer in children can be challenging. A pediatric gastroenterologist has special training in treating stomach, esophageal obstruction symptoms, and other disorders associated with child obesity.

Childhood Obesity Complications

  •  Obesity in children often causes complications in their social, emotional, and physical well-being. The complications of childhood obesity include:
  • High Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol: An unhealthy diet can lead to the development of either one or both conditions. The arteries thicken and narrow, making it difficult for the heart to pump blood to all parts of the body. This can cause a heart stroke or an attack later in life.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Obesity impacts the way the body processes sugar or glucose. A sedentary lifestyle coupled with obesity can heighten the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Being diabetic also increases the risk of developing other complications like kidney failure and heart disease.
  • Joint Pains: Additional weight causes extra pressure on the hip, leg, and foot joints. Obesity can also increase the risk of injuries from falls.
  • Breathing Problems: Overweight children are more prone to developing breathing problems. Common diseases likely to create are asthma and obstructive sleep apnea.
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: In this condition, fatty deposits build up in the liver, causing scarring and liver damage. The disease with no typical symptoms cannot be diagnosed in the early stages, leading to severe complications.
  • Social and Emotional Issues: Obese children may face more bullying or teasing from their peers. They are more likely to suffer isolation, lower self-esteem, and depression. It can lead to anxiety, increased stress, risk of depression, and a tendency to binge eat or eat more comfort foods, leading to a vicious cycle.

Childhood Obesity Management

The best child obesity management guidelines enable you to help your child not only prevent extra weight gain but also reduce weight already gained. Consult a gastrologist and gastroenterologist for better and more informed decision-making in obesity management.

  • Change Habits: Set a good example by adopting healthy eating habits and following a regular exercise routine. Make it a family affair, and everyone will be motivated to be involved.
  • Keep Healthy Snacks: Try not to stock unhealthy foods. When shopping for snacks, look for healthier options like popcorn, hummus, whole grain biscuits, etc.
  • Ensure Enough Sleep: Sleeping less than eight hours may increase the risk of obesity. Sleep deprivation may cause hormonal imbalance, leading to increased appetite.
  •  Give Non-food Rewards: Giving candies as a reward for good behavior should not be a strategy.

Connect for an online doctor chat to learn a detailed strategy for child obesity management.

Obesity in Childhood is a severe medical disorder that affects children and teenagers. Child obesity is a significant cause of diseases like diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure that normally affects adults only. The only way to improve obesity management is by consistently improving unhealthy eating habits and following a regimen of exercise. 

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