Childhood obesity is a serious disease that affects millions of children and adolescents in the United States alone. Not only can it make physical activity difficult for these youngsters, but it can also cause a myriad of short- and long-term health problems, as well as leave scars on their emotional well-being.
By learning about childhood obesity effects, we can take proactive measures towards raising happier and healthier children. Here, Dr. Andrei and the team at Bariatric Associates, P.A. examine the consequences of this condition in hopes to mobilize your efforts to fight it.
Childhood Obesity Defined
Before jumping into its potential effects, it’s important to understand just who can be affected by childhood obesity. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) define it as a condition where children and adolescents ages 6-19 exhibit a sex-specific body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile. The progression of this serious disease is affected by several different factors, including metabolism, diet, physical inactivity, sleep deprivation, genetics, and much more.
Overall Health Impacts
Like many health conditions, the effects of childhood obesity cover several domains of life. One area concerns consequences on a young person’s overall physical health. If childhood obesity goes untreated in children or adolescents, their risk for developing the following conditions greatly increases:
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Liver disease
- Bone and joint problems
- Respiratory problems (e.g. asthma)
- Sleep disorders
- Premature puberty and/or menstruation
- Skin infections
- Physical fatigue
Aside from these more immediate consequences, untreated childhood obesity can also cause strokes, certain types of cancer, heart disease, liver disease, and even dementia in adults. Whatever the case, these health effects can negatively impact children’s and adolescents’ quality of life.
Unfortunately, the effects of childhood obesity don’t end with short- and long-term physical health problems. Bridging into the mental health of affected youth, the condition can also cause the following adverse effects:
- Higher likelihood of bullying and being bullied
- Decreased self-esteem and sense of worth
- Increased social isolation and risk for depression
- Inhibited social skills
- Heightened stress and anxiety levels
- Behavioral and/or learning problems
What Can Be Done?
Modern advancements in medicine have revolutionized the treatment of childhood obesity. At clinics like ours, adolescent weight loss management is a holistic process that addresses youth’s medical, nutritional, emotional, and social needs. This not only fosters short-term success but enables patients to form lifelong healthy habits when it comes to diet and exercise.
If patients are unable to lose weight through an initial diet and exercise plan, they may then be recommended for weight loss surgery. The two most popular surgical options for children and youth include:
- Sleeve gastrectomy, which reduces a patient’s stomach size to between 8-10 ounces
- Gastric bypass, which minimizes the size of the stomach and connects a patient’s large intestine with the new, smaller stomach pouch
Get Your Child on the Path to Better Health
With so many negative consequences posed by childhood obesity, your child must lead a healthy lifestyle so they can stay fit and happy. If your child or teen is obese, schedule a consultation with Dr. Andrei and the team at Bariatric Associates, P.A. today. As a leading bariatric practitioner in New Jersey, he will help your child attain better lifelong health through proven methods, and, if necessary, weight loss surgery.