As if the risks of childhood obesity aren’t clear enough, there is now evidence that obesity in children is linked to many chronic diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. The news gets worse, however, because a recent study by the University of California, Los Angeles has also found that obesity in children has some more immediate health threats.
The study also found that children who are overweight have a 30 percent higher chance of suffering from some major health conditions and obese children are as much as 200 percent more likely to experience these same health and developmental problems. The increase in obesity among children has corresponded with the increase in health problems such as asthma, and conditions such as ADHD and learning disabilities.
Findings can help
While the results of this study can seem a bit daunting to many, others feel that being aware of the many health problems that obese children face can greatly help to improve overall awareness and help parents to encourage their children to make healthy food choices as they get older. Children who are within the “normal” weight range are much less likely to suffer from many health conditions, and are more likely to remain a healthy weight well into adulthood.
Many health care professionals feel that parents determine a child’s food preferences into adulthood, so feeding them a good healthy diet early on will help to encourage a healthy diet throughout life.
A slew of health problems for obese children
Not only are obese children more likely to be inactive, they can also experience problems such as high blood pressure very early on. Other issues, including high cholesterol levels and glucose levels inevitably follow obese children into adulthood. Additionally, obese children also have a higher incidence of diabetes, which even controlled, can cause major issues into adulthood.
Another common problem in obese children is sleep apnea. At the least, sleep apnea has been shown to cause excess fatigue, at the worst; it can be fatal when left untreated. Shortness of breath are common in children that are considered obese, and it’s been found that asthma is on the rise in this group of children.
Many forget the social stigma that overweight and obese children can suffer. The University of California study suggests that overweight and obese children have an increased risk of learning problems and low self esteem. It is thought that the low self esteem is caused from being picked on or mistreated because of their weight.
How to help
Doctors feel that it’s never too late to start an obese child on a healthy diet and weight loss plan. In the case of children that need to lose weight, consulting a health care provider for guidance will help to ensure that the child gets proper nutrition and is still able to lose weight.
Ultimately, the best way to help with childhood obesity may be to prevent it from the beginning. Establishing healthy eating habits as soon as a child begins eating and encouraging lots of activity in all stages of life are likely the best way to keep kids at a healthy weight range throughout childhood and well into adulthood.