Childhood Obesity –


Childhood obesity is on the rise, and many healthcare professionals are warning that the issue could become an epidemic in the UK. Studies carried out by Imperial College London in cooperation with the NHS, revealed that obesity and obesity-related hospital admissions in children quadrupled between 2000 and 2009, and the growing problem is likely to lead to a significant increase in health issues in adults.

 Overweight children are much more likely to develop and suffer from obesity-related illnesses and health problems. Obese children are at risk of high cholesterol, diabetes, skin conditions, high blood pressure and even early signs of heart disease. Obesity can also affect mental well-being, and overweight child may develop self-esteem or self-confidence issues and eating disorders. There are also social problems caused by childhood obesity, and many overweight children suffer from stigmatisation from their peers.


Development of Health Problems in Later Life

Childhood obesity has the potential to cause damaging medical consequences in later life. The effects of obesity can lead to significant health problems in adulthood, and the damage done during a child’s formative years because of obesity can be irreversible. Obesity-related illnesses include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, asthma, sleep apnoea, liver disease, pregnancy problems and some cancers. Some of these chronic diseases can be life-threatening and severely debilitating.

Causes, Diagnosis and Prevention

Although genetics can be a contributing factor, most healthcare professionals point to social, environmental and behavioural factors as the reasons for the dramatic rise of childhood obesity. A diet of fast food and unhealthy convenience meals is the norm for an increasing amount of UK families, and the activity levels of many children is poor. Recent studies lead by Sir Liam Donaldson, found that from a sample of 8,500 UK pupils, 11% of 11 to 16 years were overweight, and with one in five of these children having poor levels of physical fitness.

Childhood obesity can be easily identified with a health assessment, but many cases can be diagnosed with a simple BMI test. A well-balanced diet is important for all children, and limiting sugary and fatty foods can be a significant preventative measure. Families should also encourage physical activity and promote the benefits of fitness. Children aged 5 to 18 should get at least 60 minutes of moderate aerobic fitness every day, and this can be achieved by building physical activity into their daily routine.

Complications related with Childhood Obesity