Childhood obesity, defined as a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile relative to age, gender, height and weight, is becoming more and more common. There are many theories to explain this trend, from increased TV watching and videogame playing, to more fast food consumption, as well as less time allotted for physical activity at home and in schools.
Regardless of the causes of childhood obesity, there are many short- and long-term negative effects including serious potential health problems starting in childhood and continuing into adulthood. The good news is that, with the proper medical support and family lifestyle changes, health problems associated with excess weight can often be avoided.
HEALTH RISKS OF OBESITY IN CHILDHOOD AND LATER IN LIFE
Some health problems that once were uncommon in children are becoming more common with the increase in childhood obesity. These include Type II diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, asthma, joint pain, chronic heartburn, fatty liver disease and gallstones, to name a few.
Metabolic syndrome also is becoming more common in both obese children and obese adults. Metabolic syndrome is not a disease, but a set of conditions that can put a person at very high risk for developing heart disease, diabetes or other health problems. High cholesterol, high blood pressure and high blood sugar are the dangerous trio that make-up the condition known as metabolic syndrome.