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Childhood Obesity - An Overview

Childhood obesity is a serious health problem caused due to an unhealthy lifestyle, which furtherleads to the risk of various chronic health problems.

Causes of Childhood Obesity

Some of the main causes of childhood obesity are:

  • Family history of obesity
  • Genetic diseases
  • Hormonal imbalance
  • Lack of exercise
  • Lifestyle
  • Improper diet with high fats and sugar content
  • Psychological factors

Symptoms of Childhood Obesity

There are no visible symptoms of obesity in children apart from excess body weight. Moreover, not all children who carry extra pounds are regarded as obese or overweight. Some children have bigger body proportions and normally bear different proportions of body fat.

Effects of Childhood Obesity

Obese children have a high risk of developing health related problems in the future like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol that may increase the risk of heart disease, asthma, joint pains and sleep disorders.

Diagnosis of Childhood Obesity

Doctors may conduct a body mass index (BMI) as a part of the regular test to determine if the child is obese. The BMI is used to compare the index with other children of similar age and gender. If the child falls between 85th and 94th percentile, then he is overweight. Anything above that is considered obese.

The doctors may also ask if obesity is genetic, inquire about the child's eating habits and physical activity levels. The doctors may further conduct blood sugar tests and blood tests to check if there are any hormonal disorders that is causing obesity.

Treatment of Childhood Obesity

The treatments for childhood obesity are based on age and the medical condition of the child. Doctors usually start by controlling the diet and advise exercise, playing sport and physical activities. In some cases, doctors may prescribe medications or weight-loss surgery.

Children over 12 years and adolescents whoare overweight will be put on a weight maintenance program.Obese children between 6 years and 11 years will be put on a diet or a gradual weight loss program that will be monitored on a regular basis.

Healthy diet and more physical activities are recommended once the obesity is controlled

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