Health effects of Obesity in Childhood

The health effects of obesity in childhood are as many and varied as they are in adults. Obesity is a growing epidemic in western society, it’s growth throughout the world is reaching pandemic proportions. While obesity is the root cause of many health problems, it’s particularly bad for children since many of the effects of obesity are long term, if not life long. People who are overweight from childhood will suffer the effects of that throughout their lives. It’s estimated that one in three children in western society are overweight. As parents, it’s vital that we understand the potential for long term health effects of obesity in childhood because our child’s future depends on it!

There are several health issues of obesity in childhood. Here is a list of some common, potentially deadly diseases children could face if they don’t maintain a healthy weight:

  1. Type II diabetes: Type II diabetes can cause the body to produce insufficient insulin, or cause produced insulin to be incapable of bonding with sugar in the bloodstream which means the body effectively ignores the insulin which causes excess sugar to float around in the blood stream. Type II diabetes also leads to kidney problems, heart, eye and other organ diseases. Type II diabetes used to develop mainly in middle aged adults but the increase in child obesity has made it increasingly common in young people. In addition, being overweight can cause fatty deposits to build up around the pancreas where insulin is produced, this fatty tissue inhibits the passage of insulin into the bloodstream causing the development of type II diabetes. If this occurs, then losing weight will most likely cure the diabetes unless permanent damage to the pancreas has occurred.
  2. Gangrene: Being overweight can cause circulatory problems that result in gangrene in the extremities. In time, this tissue death can result in the amputation of toes, feet, legs, fingers, hands etc. This is particularly common in those who suffer from diabetes, however it also occurs in those with no history of diabetes. If you think it’s okay for a child to be seriously overweight, just imagine the impact of having to live with a disability of this type.
  3. High blood pressure (hypertension): Overweight children are particularly prone to experiencing elevated blood pressure levels. Hypertension leads to several serious health conditions including stroke, heart attack, and cardiovascular disease.
  4. High cholesterol: Long term high cholesterol can lead to a condition called ‘atherosclerosis’ which refers to a buildup of fatty plaque in arterial walls. Over time, this buildup can dramatically reduce blood flow through those arteries. Without oxygen rich blood flowing freely the body can suffer from several extremely dangerous issues including stroke and heart attack.
  5. Joint diseases: Carrying excess weight causes wear and tear on the joints. The longer this excess weight is carried the more damage is caused to the joints. If a child is overweight most of their life, it can potentially cause a great deal of pain in their back, legs, ankles and hips later in life caused by joint diseases like arthritis. Similarly, losing weight can dramatically reduce the amount of discomfort caused by arthritis simply because there is less strain upon the joints involved.
  6. Heart disease: The symptoms of heart disease tend to appear much earlier in life in those with a long history of obesity. These days, it is not uncommon for this to occur in teenagers.
  7. Psychological: In some ways, perhaps the most damaging effect of childhood obesity is psychological. Obesity carries a huge cost to a child’s self esteem and self confidence. Obese children often endure horrendous teasing from their peers. This can have a significant negative impact on their self image that can last their whole life. This can lead to anxiety and depression, make them socially introverted and can cause them to avoid many milestones in life, like school dances, that many take for granted. Ultimately, it can even lead to teen suicide.

Note that this is certainly not a comprehensive list of the health effects of obesity in childhood. These are provided as a guide for you to understand some of the things that may occur.

It’s a very frightening scenario isn’t it? While this news is grim, the good news is that it is never too late to address the health effects of obesity in childhood. Many of these issues can be totally reversed simply by making better lifestyle choices. Initially, it will be up to the parents to make these lifestyle choices on behalf of the child. Eventually, the child will be able to make similar healthy lifestyle choices for themselves. Making healthy lifestyle choices is as simple as eating a more nutritious diet and getting more exercise. This can have a huge difference on the weight of a child. Not to mention the huge improvement in their self esteem as they overcome the health effects of obesity in childhood.

source : weightlosstips4kids


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