8 Diseases Related to Childhood Obesity
It has been estimated that 18.5% of children suffer from obesity, according to data from the Regional Office of the World Health Organization (WHO) published in RTVE. However, beyond being overweight, did you know that there are many diseases related to childhood obesity?
Read on to discover how obesity can affect your child’s health.
Childhood obesity in the world
Overall, the WHO has been warning everyone for several years about the high prevalence of childhood obesity throughout the world. In fact, it’s considered one of the main public health problems of the current century. However, what exactly is childhood obesity?
Essentially, this refers to an accumulation of excessive fat in the body. Therefore, the child weighs much more than the weight considered healthy for his or her age and height. In fact, if you suspect that your child is overweight or even obese, see your pediatrician for an examination.
The BMI (Body Mass Index) is a globally accepted indicator to assess whether a child is overweight or obese.
Diseases related to childhood obesity
Beyond aesthetics, fat buildup can lead to diseases that doctors considered “adult” in the past. Below, we’ll tell you what health problems can affect obese children.
1. Type 2 diabetes
Type 2 diabetes is a type of diabetes that’s acquired. Therefore, it’s not congenital. Every time we eat food, the pancreas releases insulin to separate the glucose from the ingested sugars and thus provide nutrients to the cells.
The problem occurs when excess food causes the pancreas to work too much. Because of this, over time the insulin-producing cells can die and that’s how type 2 diabetes develops.
According to data from a study published in 2017 in the Journal of the Endocrine Society, there is a clear link between obesity and the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children.
2. Diseases related to childhood obesity: High blood pressure
Various studies have concluded that excess weight increases blood pressure, which can cause hypertension in children. This increase in tension could lead to long-term cardiovascular problems. For this reason, doctors usually recommend a healthy and balanced diet for weight loss, as well as an exercise plan.
3. High cholesterol
Plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to narrowing of the arteries. The biggest complication of this situation is that if the arteries get clogged it could lead to a heart attack or even a stroke.
Also discover: Childhood Obesity, a Big Problem
4. Self-esteem problems and depression
Children can be cruel: the bullying that appears in the newspapers every week is proof of this. Unfortunately, a n obese child can be the victim of all kinds of comments that affect his or her self-esteem and, in the worst case, cause serious childhood depression.
5. Diseases related to childhood obesity: Metabolic syndrome
This syndrome encompasses different health problems that affect the body holistically. In fact, children with it experience hypertension, low good cholesterol, high triglycerides, and even glucose intolerance. Additionally, it’s worth noting that this intolerance can lead to type 2 diabetes over time.
6. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
Another of the diseases related to childhood obesity is non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. This happens when fat accumulates slowly in the liver because the liver isn’t able to process it properly. The main risk is that liver cell damage can occur.
You might be interested in: Fun Exercises to Fight Childhood Obesity
7. Eating disorders
Excess weight and obesity in children can generate low self-esteem, as we have already seen, and push the child towards anorexia or bulimia in a desperate attempt to lose weight.
Finally, some research indicates that the inflammatory processes caused by obesity could trigger asthma symptoms by disrupting children’s airways.
Keep in mind
These are the main diseases related to childhood obesity. However, they aren’t the only ones: sleep apnea and a pattern of restless sleep are two other possible complications of obesity.
If you suspect that your child is over a healthy weight, don’t hesitate to consult your pediatrician. They’re the best option to diagnose the condition and give you healthy eating and exercise guidelines for your child.It might interest you...
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- A. Pilar, Samuel. (n.d.). La epidemia de la obesidad en España. RTVE. http://www.rtve.es/las-claves/la-obesidad-en-espana-2019-01-15/
- Abbasi, A., Juszczyk, D., van Jaarsveld, C. H., & Gulliford, M. C. (2017). Body mass index and incident type 1 and type 2 diabetes in children and young adults: a retrospective cohort study. Journal of the Endocrine Society, 1(5), 524-537. https://academic.oup.com/jes/article/1/5/524/3754347
- Brady, T. M. (2017). Obesity-related hypertension in children. Frontiers in pediatrics, 5, 197. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2017.00197/full
- Healthy Children staff. (n.d.). Burlas y acoso a los niños debido a su peso: ¿cómo pueden ayudar los padres? https://www.healthychildren.org/spanish/health-issues/conditions/obesity/paginas/teasing-and-bullying.aspx
- Eyzaguirre, F., Silva, R., Román, R., Palacio, A., Cosentino, M., Vega, V., & García, H. (2011). Prevalencia de síndrome metabólico en niños y adolescentes que consultan por obesidad. Revista médica de Chile, 139(6), 732-738. https://scielo.conicyt.cl/scielo.php?pid=S0034-98872011000600006&script=sci_arttext&tlng=p
- Jones, M. H., Roncada, C., Fernandes, M. T. C., Heinzmann-Filho, J. P., Sarria Icaza, E. E., Mattiello, R., … & Stein, R. T. (2017). Asthma and obesity in children are independently associated with airway Dysanapsis. Frontiers in pediatrics, 5, 270. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2017.00270/full