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Aug 28

Childhood Obesity — What You Can Do About It

Childhood Obesity Is a Major Public Health Problem

  • Children with obesity are at higher risk for having other chronic health conditions and diseases, such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, and type 2 diabetes. They also have more risk factors for heart disease like high blood pressure and high cholesterol than their normal weight peers.
  • Children with obesity can be bullied and teased more than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to suffer from social isolation, depression, and lower self-esteem.
  • Children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults. This can lead to lifelong physical and mental health problems. Adult obesity is associated with a higher risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and many types of cancers.

Childhood Obesity Is Influenced by Many Factors

Many factors can have an impact on childhood obesity, including eating and physical activity behaviors, genetics, metabolism, family and home environment, and community and social factors. For some children and families, obesity may be influenced by the following:

  • too much time spent being inactive
  • lack of sleep
  • lack of places to go in the community to get physical activity
  • easy access to inexpensive, high calorie foods and sugary beverages
  • lack of access to affordable, healthier foods

There Are Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Obesity and Support Healthy Growth in Children

To help ensure that children have a healthy weight, energy balance is important. There are many things parents can do to help their children achieve a healthy weight and maintain it.