Childhood obesity has become a grave problem around the world, especially among developing economies. China and India top the list for obese children and adolescents in the world. This is a problem that has largely been exacerbated because of lifestyle, living conditions and, to a certain extent, genetics.
Increased rates of obesity among children have also made them susceptible to a range of diseases previously unheard of among children and young adults. Excess weight among children can lead to the following health hazards:
Research shows that up to 70% of overweight children have at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease, 39% of them have two or more such risk factors. Atherosclerosis, or hardening of arteries, can begin as early as childhood among obese children. This is one of the founding causes of heart issues and is closely linked to increased cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
High Blood Pressure
Increased blood pressure caused by constricting of arteries has also gotten increasingly common among obese children. This puts a lot of strain on the heart and can cause serious problems to a child who should otherwise be highly physically active.
One of the most dreaded lifestyle diseases out there, type-2 diabetes was once considered to be a disease of adults. Not so anymore. This ailment has become more and more common among children and has begun to afflict them earlier than ever before. Children diagnosed with diabetes face a shorter than average life span over and above a host of other problems.
One of the most common problems suffered by overweight children is metabolic syndrome. Almost 25 to 40% of children diagnosed with childhood obesity will develop this disease. This ailment sets the stage for even more serious disorders like diabetes and heart issues. This problem can include abnormal lipids, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, among others. This can, however, be well-managed by taking good care of one’s diet and exercising regularly. Reducing weight can, to an extent, reverse this issue.
Fatty liver often afflicts children who are overweight. Also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, this disease, when not taken care of, can also lead to cirrhosis.
Childhood obesity can often be a tough thing to deal with. There comes a lot of social stigmas attached to this issue and it can leave a lot of scars on a young, impressionable mind. We live in a society that hails thinness. In a time like this, for a child to be overweight, it can make them feel less likable. Bullying, low self-esteem, depression, are just a few issues that affect children that are overweight.
One of the most vicious cycles an overweight child can fall into is the cycle of emotional eating. A child who feels discriminated against because of their weight can often turn to food as a means to feel better. The child may start seeking emotional comfort in food, so while their parents and doctor are advising them to eat less, they are only looking to add more calories to their diet. This can be best managed by joining a habit transformation program that will focus on helping you and your child change your lives through the science of behavior change by being supportive, and providing the child the emotional confidence and comfort they need.