The medical implications of childhood obesity

What is Childhood Obesity?
Childhood obesity is, unfortunately, a condition which has increased dramatically in recent years. With a few exceptions, obesity in children is caused by them consuming (through food) more calories than they burn off with the effect that the excess calories are converted into fat to be stored in the body. Obese children are very heavy for their age and build, and often do not do much physical activity. Obesity can become a vicious cycle, because, once a child is overweight, exercise becomes more difficult so he exercises less and eats more, causing his weight to increase further.

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How is Childhood Obesity Diagnosed and Treated?
Obesity should be diagnosed by a doctor or medical professional, either through a GP appointment or a private health assessment. If you are concerned about your child’s weight it is always best to see a doctor, who can also help you construct a plan to help your child return to a healthy size. The treatment recommended for childhood obesity will be tailored to your own child, but you will have a large role to play in order to help ensure treatment is successful. Treatment can include self-help, such as a change in diet and activity levels at home, medication which would be prescribed by a doctor if necessary, or, in very extreme circumstances, surgery. The vast majority of cases can be treated with a healthy diet and plenty of exercise.

What are the Dangers of Childhood Obesity?
As well as an increase in medical costs, obesity puts your child at risk of several diseases, a shorter lifespan and lower school grades. In short, obesity is very dangerous.

How Can I Prevent My Child Becoming Obese?
Fortunately, there are lots of things you can do to stop your child becoming obese. Here are some great ideas:
Eat Healthily: By eating a healthy, balanced diet, your child is less likely to become obese. Processed foods are often high in salt, sugar, additives and calories, which, when eaten in excess, can contribute towards childhood obesity.
Get Active: By keeping active, your child’s risk of obesity is significantly lowered. The NHS has some great tips for exercise, just click through to your child’s age.
Breastfeed: Studies have shown that children who were breastfed are less likely to suffer from obesity.

What if I Need More Information?
If you’re concerned at all, it’s always best to see your own doctor for advice, as the easiest way to treat obesity is to catch it early.


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