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8 Health Risks of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is on the rise and remains a serious public health problem here in the U.S. Today, nearly a third of children are overweight or obese. Many parents may not understand the impact that childhood obesity has on developing extreme health issues down the road.

A child’s physical health, along with both their emotional and social well-being can be greatly impacted when living with obesity.

Too little activity and too many calories from food and drink consumption are the essential contributors to children becoming overweight at a young age. However, genetic and hormonal influences can most definitely play a role in making a child prone to obesity.

Grasping an understanding about the physical, emotional and social difficulties a child may likely struggle with while living with obesity can help parents understand the seriousness of taking control over their child’s health before lifestyle choices spiral out of control.

Physical Complications

  1. Type 2 diabetes – obesity can greatly increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a chronic condition that affects the way your child’s body uses sugar (glucose).
  2. High Cholesterol & High Blood Pressure- children are more likely to develop high blood pressure or high cholesterol if he or she eats a poor diet. These conditions can add to the buildup of plaques in the arteries. Over time this can lead to a heart attack or stroke later in life.
  3. Asthma- children who are overweight or obese may likely develop asthma
  4. Sleep disorders- can be a complication of childhood obesity.
  5. Early Puberty of Menstruation- hormone imbalances may lead to early starts to puberty typically developed as a result to childhood obesity.

Social & Emotional Difficulties

  1. Depression- low self-esteem and lack of energy can create overwhelming feelings of hopelessness in overweight children. A child struggling with depression may hide their sadness and appear emotionally dull instead.
  2. Low self-esteem- children can often become the targets of bullying when struggling with obesity. The development of low self-esteem can lead to depression as well.
  3. Behavioral and learning problems- overweight children may tend to withdraw from social situations. At the other extreme, they may tend to act out and cause problems in the classroom, on the playground, or at home.  
MedicAlert Team Member