Obesity—Children and Teens

(Obesity—Pediatric and Adolescent; Overweight—Children and Teens; Overweight—Pediatric and Adolescent; Pediatric and Adolescent Overweight; Children and Teens Overweight; Pediatric and Adolescent Obesity; Children and Teens Obesity)

Definition

Obesity is a high amount of body fat. It leads to a much higher body weight than is normal. This level of body fat can cause serious health issues.

Causes

Calories are consumed from food and drinks. They are necessary for physical activity and all basic body functions. A healthy weight is reached by balancing the number of calories you eat and the number of calories you use.Weight gain occurs when the number of calories eaten is greater than the number of calories used. If this happens regularly, it will lead to obesity. Calorie imbalances happen most often with eating too much food and low levels of physical activity. Less often, it may be caused by a medical condition or medication.

Risk Factors

Factors that may increase your child's risk of obesity include:
  • Sleep problems, such as poor sleeping habits or lack of sleep
  • Large birth weight
  • Lack of exercise
  • High level of sedentary activities like watching TV, playing on the computer, or playing video games
  • High consumption of fast food
  • High consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks
  • Overeating or binging—short periods when a very large amounts of food are eaten
  • Stressful life events or change
  • Family and peer problems
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression and other emotional problems
  • Family history
  • Genetic factors
  • Ethnicity: African American, Hispanic, Native American
  • Taking certain medications
  • Having certain illnesses or conditions

Symptoms

The main symptom of obesity is increased weight. The midsection is the most common area to increase in thickness. There will also be obvious areas of fat deposits all over the body.
Obese Body
IMAGE
Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

Complications of Untreated Obesity

Excess weight increases the chance of a child having:
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Bone and joint problems
  • Asthma
  • Sleep problems such as sleep apnea
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  • Problems with anesthesia during surgery
  • Liver and gallbladder disease
  • Depression
  • Unhealthy eating habits, including eating disorders
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Problems during adulthood—more likely to develop severe obesity, stroke, and heart disease as adults, early death in adulthood

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