Today almost 33% of American kids are suffering from childhood obesity. This overweight problem is causing numerous health related problems among which high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and high level of blood cholesterol are very common. Apart from the effects on health, studies also suggest that childhood obesity is one of the reasons for low self-esteem and prolonged depression. Today we’ll talk about what childhood obesity is, its causes and consequences.
Childhood obesity: Definition
To put it simply, childhood obesity is the accumulation of excessive fat in the body. When a child develops, his weight and height grow proportionately. If in some cases this growth becomes disproportionate, excessive fat starts to accumulate in a child’s body. Childhood obesity leads to some serious health conditions for your child.
How childhood obesity is measured?
Body Mass Index, BMI in short, is used to determine if a child is overweight or obese. If the BMI for a child is between 85% and 95%, the child is defined as ‘overweight’. And if the BMI is above 95%, (s) he is defined as ‘obese’. If you are wondering how the BMI is measured, let us give you the proper technique. It is calculated by dividing a child’s weight in kilograms by the square of height in meters.
Childhood obesity risks
Now that you know what is childhood obesity, it’s time to know about the risks associated with it. An obese child is more prone to high blood pressure, high cholesterol level, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes. Impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, asthma, sleep apnea, joint problems, gallstones are also common in obese children. Not only these, obese children are at greater risk of psychological problems too. Lower self-esteem, depression, discrimination and even bullying and stigma are the most common to them.
Causes of childhood obesity
There are three basic reasons for childhood obesity:
- Unhealthy diet and eating pattern
- Lack of physical activity
- Genetic reasons
If a child eats unhealthy foods and there is no pattern of when and how much is (s) he is eating, that child is most likely to have gained unwanted fat. Children with absolutely no or a little physical activity are at risk of gaining disproportionate weight too. And commonly it is seen that if the parents are obese, the children become obese too at a very early age, making them vulnerable to different serious diseases.