Obesity Related Diseases in Children
By Melody Hughes, eHow Contributor
Childhood obesity can lead to serious health conditions. A child is considered to be obese when her weight is considerably more than the normal weight for her height and age. Childhood obesity may be the result of overeating, inactivity, genetics or a combination of these circumstances.
A child is considered to be overweight if his body mass index (BMI) is greater than the 85th percentile when plotted on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) growth charts. A child is considered to be obese if her BMI is greater than the 95th percentile when plotted on the CDC’s growth chart. Children who are seven years or younger and who are considered obese should aim to maintain their weight over the years so that their height and weight may eventually balance out. Older children can aim to lose one to two pounds per week by eating a calorie-controlled diet.
Children who are obese are more likely to develop insulin resistance. Insulin resistance may occur as a part of metabolic syndrome or it may eventually lead to type 2 diabetes. Children who have metabolic disorders such as insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome or type 2 diabetes are at a greater risk of later developing serious conditions such as heart disease, kidney disease, and vascular problems.
Children who are obese are also more likely to experience breathing problems. They may frequently experience shortness of breath with physical exertion. Some may develop asthma, which can be life-threatening in severe cases. Also, obese children are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, which puts them at greater risk for future heart problems.
High blood pressure is also a concern for obese children. Carrying extra weight puts more strain on the heart and can cause the blood pressure to be higher than normal. Over time, high blood pressure can cause serious damage to the heart and its arteries and vessels. Also, obese children are at an increased risk of suffering from high cholesterol levels. Excess cholesterol in the blood can create blockages that may lead to heart problems such as heart attack.
Children who are considerably overweight are more likely to develop liver disease. They are also more likely to develop gallstones, which may necessitate the removal of their gallbladders.
In addition, obesity can trigger puberty to begin sooner than normal.
Obese children are more likely to suffer from eating disorders at some point and may also deal with psychological issues such as anxiety and depression.
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