Child obesity is an increasing medical problem amongst children in the United States – some estimates average that one-third of children suffer from the disorder. Children are diagnosed with obesity when their body-mass index is in the 95 percentile, which doctors will estimate as dangerously overweight. Understanding the causes, effects and treatments of child obesity can help parents keep their children healthier and avoid obesity. Some of the main causes of child obesity include:
Obesity is typically affected by socioeconomic status and family life. Limited income will make it less likely for children to have access to foods for a balanced diet, while abused or emotionally neglected children will often turn to food for comfort and security. Children with obesity typically suffer from the following physical and emotional problems:
Many children with obesity face an ongoing struggle against ridicule from their peers, as well as the detrimental, habitual eating; both of these problems are hard to overcome without proper intervention and support. There are several effective treatments for managing obesity, but most treatments will only produce results if maintained continually. The following treatments are some of the most common employed to improve childhood obesity:
If child obesity is allowed to continue without proper intervention, it can lead to lifelong obesity problems, increased risk of heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, metabolic abnormalities, poor self-image and even suicide. Parents and their children can get support, information and treatment options from child health and obesity associations, such as from the American Heart Association and The Obesity Society.