Six Serious Conditions That Are Linked to Pediatric Obesity

Six Serious Conditions That Are Linked to Pediatric Obesity

Childhood obesity is a growing health concern. Excess weight during childhood raises the risk of several serious adverse effects. Obesity in childhood also threatens health in adulthood. 

Our board-certified obesity medicine physicians and nurse practitioners at Nova Physician Wellness Center want parents to know that there are steps you can take to help your child reach and maintain a healthy weight. 

Obesity medicine specialists, Rohit Suri, MD, and Seema Chaudhary, MD, provide comprehensive nutrition and weight-loss services to help adults and children struggling with excess weight. 

Childhood obesity facts

Childhood obesity affects more than 14 million children and adolescents, and can impact children as young as 2 years of age. In fact, 13% of children ages 2-5 are obese. 

Certain populations of children are at a higher risk of obesity. Roughly a quarter of Hispanic children and a quarter of African American children are obese, along with 16% of Caucasian children. 

Childhood obesity health impact 

Childhood obesity is a complex and multifaceted health issue. Children who are obese are more likely to struggle with obesity as adults. What’s more, children who have obesity tend to have more severe health consequences of their obesity during adulthood. 

1. High blood pressure

Obesity is the primary risk factor for high blood pressure in children, and the risk of high blood pressure increases as BMI increases. High blood pressure in childhood is linked to health problems later in life. When children and teens are obese, they’re at a significantly higher risk for heart disease, too.

2. High cholesterol

High cholesterol isn’t just a health problem for adults. A concerning number of children have high cholesterol, and many of them are obese. Having high cholesterol is a major threat to a child’s heart health, and this risk carries over into adulthood. 

3. Asthma and sleep apnea

Children with obesity are more likely to develop respiratory issues, such as asthma and sleep apnea, compared to their normal weight peers. 

4. Fatty liver disease

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) affects roughly 36% of children and teens with obesity. When NAFLD persists into adulthood, it’s associated with serious liver problems. NALFD can progress to cirrhosis, which is marked by liver inflammation and scarring. 

5. Type 2 diabetes

Children with obesity are four times more likely to develop type 2 diabetes compared to children with a normal BMI. Reduced physical activity and increased isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic has made it even more challenging for children to get the exercise they need to promote healthy blood sugar levels. 

6. Anxiety and depression

Childhood obesity is linked to anxiety and depression in adulthood. What’s more, children with obesity are more likely to experience feelings of low self-esteem. Anxiety and depression can affect your child’s academic performance and overall quality of life. 

Treating pediatric obesity

Early intervention can improve your child’s health and lower the risk of serious health problems. Our providers work closely with you and your child to create an individualized treatment plan. We offer expert nutrition counseling, medical weight loss, and exercise plans to help your child successfully lose weight and keep it off. 

To learn more about how we can help your child manage obesity, call our office or book online to schedule a consultation with one of our providers. We have offices in Fairfax, Ashburn, and Vienna, Virginia, and we offer telemedicine to keep you connected to outstanding care. 

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