Childhood obesity is defined as the accumulation of excessive fat in a child’s body at a very early age. Overeating and insufficient physical activity is the main cause for it. In America the number of obese children has more than doubled in the past three decades. Effects of childhood obesity on a child’s body and mind is profound and long lasting.
Physical hazards become so extreme for obese and overweight children and adolescents. If a child is suffering from overweight, he/she may go under the following conditions:
Obese children are at more risk of being attacked by CVD, which generally are more common in full grown adults. Problems include high blood pressure, high total and LDL cholesterol level, high triglyceride level, low HDL cholesterol level and many more.
Type 2 diabetes
One other negative effect of childhood obesity is the vulnerability to Type 2 diabetes.
Obstructive sleep apnea & asthma
Obese children are 60% more vulnerable to sleep apnea and asthmatic problems.
Obesity and overweight can lead to extra pressure on musculoskeletal system. This pressure is the reason behind orthopedic problems like slipped capital femoral epiphysis and tibia vara; alternatively known as Blount’s disease.
Other health issues
Apart from these, obese children may also suffer from-
- Insulin resistance
- Early puberty
- Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis
- Gastro-esophageal reflux
- Impaired glucose tolerance
Mental effects of childhood obesity
Childhood obesity has both short term and long term negative consequences on a child’s psychology. Statistics show that those children who are suffering from obesity and overweight show depression symptoms. They have a low self-esteem because of their poor body shape. They even face difficulties in learning and behavior. They think of themselves as a social stigma. As a result, they are sometimes seen having eating disorders.
Fast food effects on childhood obesity
We have said earlier that eating disorders are very common in overweight children. Once they perceive themselves as a social menace, they indulge themselves more in having fast foods, crisps and chips, and fizzy drinks. These foods contribute more to their obesity, resulting in more weight gain.
So we see that effects of childhood obesity are so many that it is almost immeasurable. U.S children are becoming more and more obese every year. The U.S Health Department has already taken some programs to minimize the risk. A coordinated effort can provide a magical result in the near future.