Childhood Obesity: Causes & Consequences

Childhood obesity is a complex health issue. It occurs when a child is well above the normal or healthy weight for his or her age and height. The causes of excess weight gain in young people are similar to those in adults, including behavior and genetics. Obesity is also influenced by a person’s community as it can affect the ability to make healthy choices.

Children who have obesity are more likely to have:

• High blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
• Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes.
• Breathing problems, such as asthma and sleep apnea.
Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort.
• Fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn).