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Childhood Obesity 

The incidence of childhood obesity is rapidly increasing worldwide, particularly in industrialized countries where majority people live on fast foods and lead sedentary lifestyle.
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Following play significant roles in the rising prevalence of obesity.

  • Environmental factors,
  • Lifestyle preferences
  • Cultural environment

Obesity in childhood is known to have significant impact on both physical and psychological health. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese adults and have risk factors associated with cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes than are other children and adolescents.1

The psychological stress of social stigmatization can cause low self-esteem, which can affect children’s academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood.

Treatment of childhood obesity

The recommended treatment for an overweight child focuses on the following primary behavioral strategies:

  • Reduce calorie intake while maintaining optimal nutrient intake.
  • Increase energy expenditure by increasing physical activity.
  • Supportive family environment.

Weight loss is recommended for children above age 7 years or younger children with related health concerns. For children below age 7 years who have no other health concerns, the goal of management is weight maintenance rather than weight loss.

In the severely obese adolescent with obesity-related comorbidity, the use of antiobesity agents could be considered. Bariatric surgery may be indicated in carefully selected, older, severely obese adolescents.

Written by: Healthplus24 team
Date last updated: July 13, 2011

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