Are those extra pounds little Johnny is carrying just a little baby fat, or are they indicative of a more serious problem? The startling truth is that in America nearly one child in five is obese or overweight.
Childhood obesity – when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height – is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. The condition is particularly problematic because it often starts kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults: diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
The primary cause of childhood obesity is simple. Children are taking in too many calories and not burning off enough. Other causes may include:
Regardless of the cause of the weight problem, it is vital to the child’s well-being to shed those extra pounds. In addition to health problems, obesity can lead to social problems due to bullying and teasing by peers, behavior and learning problems, and depression.
Treatment will vary depending on the child’s age, the severity of the weight problem, and whether or not there are other medical conditions present.
In most cases, treatment is as simple as reducing the number of calories consumed each day and increasing the level of activity.
If you have concerns about your child’s weight, consult with your health care provider.