Childhood Obesity, a Rising Concern
Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child’s health or well-being.
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition. It is seen in children and adolescents, whose weight is well above the acceptable levels. Genetic and hormonal factors are considered to cause childhood obesity. Over weight in children or child obesity leads to a number of health problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. However, by following a diet-plan and custom exercise regime, childhood obesity can be checked.
Sedentary life with high calorie food (fast foods, baked foods and soft drinks) is considered as the primary cause for childhood obesity. Genetic factors and changes in digestive hormones are also considered to cause obesity in children.
Children may appear to be overweight and only a specialist doctor can identify whether the child is overweight and has relevant health problems, if any. The doctor usually looks for family’s weight-for-height history and studies the child’s growth charts, together helps in determining if the child’s weight is in an unhealthy range.
RISKS AND COMPLICATIONS:
The child’s risk of becoming overweight is increased by taking high-calorie foods, lack of exercise, family history of obesity, psychological factors (stress) and socio-economic factors such as access to frozen foods and bakery products. The complications of child obesity include Type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome (heart diseases, low good cholesterol and excess fat), asthma, sleep disorders, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and early puberty or menstruation.
TESTS AND DIAGNOSIS:
The doctor looks for child’s body mass index (BMI) which helps to know if the child is overweight or his or her age and height. The doctor may also enquire about family history of obesity, child’s eating habits and activity level, other health conditions and medications used. In some cases the doctor may suggest for blood tests to measure cholesterol, blood sugar and hormone imbalances.
The doctor may suggest for a comprehensive treatment plan which includes, medication, diet restrictions and course of physical activity. Low crab diet with preference for fruits and vegetables is considered. Limiting sweetened beverages and fast foods is also suggested.