The effects of childhood obesity are physical, psychological and emotional. In addition to the same health risks suffered by adults, overweight kids suffer from social effects that can be difficult to handle at a young age.
Physical Health Effects of Childhood Obesity
Overweight kids often have current health problems, as well as a greater chance of having more serious conditions as an adult. Children who are obese have a greater risk of developing heart disease as an adult, which increases their chances of having a heart attack or stroke. According to one study, obese children are three to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke before age 65, as compared to their normal-weight peers.
Children who are obese have a greater risk of developing:
Psychological and Social Effects of Childhood Obesity
Psychological and emotional effects of childhood obesity are more damaging in the short term, because they are happening in the here and now, when children are at a vulnerable young age. Overweight kids are often teased and bullied by their peers, which causes a lack of self-esteem, learning problems, behavior problems and depression.
Obese children often suffer from anxiety and a lack of social skills. Some children react to this by misbehaving in school and being disruptive and destructive. Other children react by withdrawing and being anti-social. Children who suffer from anxiety often do poorly academically.
In a culture where children and teens are constantly getting messages about the importance of being beautiful, thin and athletic, overweight kids are often discriminated against and socially ostracized. And because children's opinions of themselves naturally are heavily weighted on what they think others think of them, their self-esteem can take a dive.
The dangers of childhood obesity aren't limited to taunting at school. Diseases once found only in adults are now appearing in obese children.
Childhood obesity facts are alarming in the United States. Around 12% of children under 19 are obese and facing threats to their long-term health.
Fluctuations in weight are normal as kids develop, making symptoms of obesity hard to spot. Learn what to look for and why a pediatrician should examine your child if obesity might be a problem.