What are the Effects of Childhood Obesity?

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  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 13 October 2018
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Many people are unaware of all of the problems that can result from childhood obesity. These include serious medical conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. One of the most grave physical effects of childhood obesity is the potential for a shortened lifespan. In addition to these, it is believed that obesity can have a negative psychological impact, causing children to suffer with problems such as low self-esteem and lack of self-confidence. Medical authorities express concern because it appears that childhood obesity is a condition that may be passed from one generation to the next.

Children experience the effects of obesity in much the same way as adults. It tends to take a toll on their health. For example, it is believed that obese children have an increased risk of developing asthma. Medical findings also suggest that there is a significantly increased risk of them developing heart disease.

It has been found that there are notable rates of high cholesterol among obese children. Some may suffer from sleep apnea, a condition that is characterized by periodic pauses in breathing. Other serious effects of childhood obesity include high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. To aggravate matters, medical authorities note that many children and their parents are unaware that they have these conditions.


Treating obesity is generally regarded as a difficult task. In many cases, the condition never improves and premature death is all too common. According to New York University Child Study Center, obesity accounts for more than 300,000 deaths a year as of 2011, and the annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion US Dollars (USD).

Along with the possible physical effects of childhood obesity are risks of psychological issues. It has been found that obese children tend to have lower self-esteem than other children in their age group. Many also display a lack of self-confidence. The treatment that obese children receive from their peers is often so difficult to cope with that it is believed to motivate many to drop out of school and to use alcohol and drugs.

One of the effects of childhood obesity that is often understated is the chance that individuals will not outgrow it. It has been found that a large portion of obese children become obese adults. To make matters worse, it is believed that approximately half of these adults will go on to have obese children. It can become a continuing cycle affecting the lives of children for a number of generations.



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