Causes of Childhood Obesity

Environmental and social factors, genetics, illnesses, and medications do not necessarily cause a child to be overweight. Rather, they are risk factors, because they do not guarantee that a child will be obese. The main cause of obesity in children is eating more calories than their bodies can burn each day. If your child is obese, you should take steps to decrease the risk of health-related problems, including premature death.

An Overview on the Causes of Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a term that refers to an excessive amount of body fat. Childhood obesity is a growing concern in today's society. An alarming number of children are overweight or obese and are developing diseases that are normally seen in adulthood (diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure, to name a few).
 
So what are the causes of childhood obesity? The cause is, quite simply, when a child consumes more calories from food than he or she can burn during the day. You may be asking yourself, "I thought there were a number of causes, such as genetics, medicines, or social causes." It is important to understand that these are not childhood obesity causes; instead, they are known as influences or risk factors for obesity. These risk factors increase a child's chances for developing obesity, but they do not "guarantee" obesity.
 
Some of the risk factors for childhood obesity include:
 
  • Environmental factors
  • Genetics
  • Social factors
  • Illnesses
  • Medications.
     
Environmental Factors
Far and away, the biggest impact on childhood obesity is environmental factors. These factors specifically include eating too much and not getting enough physical activity.
 
Too often, American families eat out, consume large meals and high-fat foods, and put taste and convenience ahead of nutrition (see Fast Food and Obesity). Also, most children in the United States do not get enough physical activity. Over the last 20 years, physical activity has been replaced by more time in front of computers and the television.
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Obesity Epidemic

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