Childhood obesity can have both physical and psychological effects. The physical effects are similar to those seen in adults who are obese. Some of the physical effects of childhood obesity include type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea. Some of the psychological effects include low self-esteem and social discrimination.
Health Effects of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity continues to be a growing problem in today's society. In fact, almost one in five children and adolescents are overweight, and the numbers continue to increase (see Childhood Obesity Statistics). This is one reason why scientists believe this generation of children could be the first generation to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Obesity research scientists are currently studying both the physical and mental effects of obesity on children.
Medical Effects of Childhood Obesity
The medical impact of obesity during childhood are similar to those seen in obese adults. This means that children who are obese are at an increased risk for:
As would be expected, these conditions have been increasing in children as obesity rates increase. Also, similar to adults, developing these conditions in childhood increases the risk for developing coronary heart disease(see Heart Disease Risk Factors).
Another risk factor for heart disease in adults is being overweight or obese. This risk is less clear for obese children (who do not have any of the previous conditions listed). In other words, if a child is overweight or obese but has a normal weight during adulthood, are they at an increased risk for developing heart disease as an adult?
Part of the problem with answering this question is that the number of children who remain obese in adulthood is quite high. Therefore, as adults, they continue to be at risk for heart disease, along with other conditions affected by weight (see Health Effects of Obesity).
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