What Is Childhood Obesity?

“Childhood obesity is a serious health threat to children. Kids in the obese category have surpassed simply being overweight and are at risk for a number of chronic health conditions. Poor health stemming from childhood obesity can continue into adulthood. (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5) “Childhood obesity doesn’t just affect physical health. Children and teens who are overweight or obese can become depressed and have poor self-image and self-esteem.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)


Causes of Childhood Obesity


“Family history, psychological factors, and lifestyle all play a role in childhood obesity. Children whose parents or other family members are overweight or obese are more likely to follow suit. But the main cause of childhood obesity is a combination of eating too much and exercising too little.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)


“A poor diet containing high levels of fat or sugar and few nutrients can cause kids to gain weight quickly. Fast food, candy, and soft drinks are common culprits. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) reports that 32 percent of adolescent girls and 52 percent of adolescent boys in the United States drink 24 ounces of soda — or more — per day.”.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)

“Not enough physical activity can be another cause of childhood obesity. People of all ages tend to gain weight when they’re less active. Exercise burns calories and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Children who aren’t encouraged to be active may be less likely to burn extra calories through sports, time on the playground, or other forms of physical activity.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)


Health Risks Associated with Childhood Obesity

“Children who are obese have a higher risk of developing health problems than their peers who maintain a healthy weight.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)

  • Type 2 diabetes

  • Heart disease

  • High cholesterol

  • High blood pressure

  • Stroke

  • Several forms of cancer

  • Asthma

  • Osteoarthritis


Lifestyle Changes to Fight Childhood Obesity

Increase Physical Activity

“Increase your child’s level of physical activity to help them shed weight safely. Use the word “activity” instead of “exercise” or “workout” to keep them interested. Playing hopscotch outside, for example, may be more appealing to a 7-year- old than jogging around the block. Consider encouraging your child to try a sport for which they’ve expressed an interest. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that children get at least one hour’s worth of exercise daily to remain healthy.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)

Outlook for Childhood Obesity

“Childhood obesity is a serious issue in the United States. However, with proper education and support, children can learn healthier ways to cope with their problems, prepare meals, and stay active. This support must come from the adults in their lives: parents, teachers, and other
caregivers. Help your children stay healthier for longer by preparing nutritious foods for them and encouraging them to get plenty of exercise.” (Roth, E., 2016, p. 1-5)

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Roth, E. (2016, January). Childhood Obesity. Health line Newsletter. Retrieved from problems-in- children