Childhood Obesity Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention

Table Of Contents

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest challenges that developed countries are facing now. Childhood obesity statistics retrieved from to a research carried out by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12.7 million children American children were overweight in 2011 alone.

Childhood obesity

What causes it?

If a child’s body stores too much fat, then they can be classified as overweight or obese. A sign of childhood obesity is where the weight is above average for a child’s height and age. Being overweight makes it hard for a kid to keep up with friends on the playground amongst other complications.

In this article, we are going to look at causes, signs, effects, and remedies to childhood obesity.


There are many factors that contribute to increasing rates of overweight and obesity in children. These factors are biological, behavioral, social, psychological, technological and environmental.

Family history, psychological factors, and lifestyle are some of the causes of obesity in children.

Here are the other probable causes;

  1. Poor diet –  High-calorie foods such as fast foods, baked goods and generally meals containing high levels of sugar or fat will make your child gain weight quickly.
  2. Lack of exercises – The lack of physical activities is another reason why children are gaining excessive weight. Physical activities help burn excessive calories. Now days, they spend most of their time watching tv or playing video games.
  3. Lack of enough sleep – Those who do not sleep properly have higher-level ghrelin in their body, a hormone that induces hunger. Statics show that sleep deprived people usually consume a lot of energy foods. These foods are classified as high calorie foods and lead to weight gain.
  4. Psychological factors – Some overweight children have admitted to over-eating is a way of dealing with family, personal and parental stress. Others choose to overeat as a way of fighting boredom. All these are psychological factors that lead to obesity.
  5. Genetics – If a child comes from a family with overweight people, then they are more likely to be overweight too. This is partly due to a combination of genetic factors and the probability that he or she will adopt the initial factors leading to members of the family being overweight.
  6. Socio-economic factors – There are several socio-economic factors that can lead pediatric obesity. Children from poor families may be overweight due to lack of access to a balanced diet. Those from middle class families are also more likely to be overweight due to their tendency to have snacks between meals. These are the same children who prefer staying indoors and playing games on their consoles to indulging in physical activities.


You can’t detect if your child is overweight just by looking at them. Carrying extra pounds does not necessarily make your child overweight or obese. Some kids have a higher than normal body frames, moreover, kids normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development.

The body mass index (BMI) is the acceptable measure of overweight and obesity. BMI is a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Seek the help of a professional to determine if your child is overweight or obese.


Childhood obesity can have complications on your child’s physical, emotional and social well-being. Here are some of the potential risks and complications associated with it.

Obesity-related diseases

  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory issues
  • Sleeping issues such as excessive snoring
  • Joint pain
  • Asthma
  • Gall bladder or liver disease
  • depression

Social and emotional effects

  • Low self-esteem resulting from being bullied and being laughed at by other kids.
  • Over-weight children tend to have more anxiety and poorer social skills than those with normal weight.
  • Low self-esteem can also create an overwhelming feeling of hopelessness, which can lead to depression.

How to prevent childhood obesity

Helping your child lose, weight is not that simple but it is possible. Here are some of the obesity solutions for your overweight kid. An appropriate weight loss program usually combines a healthy diet, physical activity, and change in daily habits.

Set goals

  • Weight loss goals in children should be attainable, allowing for normal growth.

Ensure your kid eats a healthy, balanced diet

  • Make breakfast to be a routine for your kid
  • Serve lots of vegetables and fruits- they are low energy foods which make your kid satisfied
  • Limit the intake of cakes, biscuits, sweets and fizzy drinks
  • Avoid fast foods- Fast foods and obesity are always mentioned in the same sentence. Avoid foods like chips, burgers.
  • Give your child starchy based foods and whole-grain meals such as brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and whole grain breads.
  • Use low fat cooking methods like baking, steaming and boiling
  • The best overweight diet plan should include lots of water.
  • Set a food diary – Work with your kid to keep a food diary. This should help keep track of the kind of food that the kid is eating, quantity and frequency. It will help you identify problematic meals.
  • Make your child take low fat or non-fat milk products like skim milk, low fat plain yoghurt and low-fat cheese.
  • Protein shakes for weight loss- Protein shakes are drinks made by mixing protein powder with water. Give your kid these shakes to ensure they do not lose their muscles in the process of losing weight.

Increase physical activities

  • Encourage him or her to participate in games they are interested in.
  • Ensure your child gets at least one hour of exercises each day. Make the exercise fun and full of variety.
  • Find activities that the entire family can join in- These should be energy draining activities like hiking, swimming, cycling, climbing and even soccer. This will not only help your child lose weight but also make them active.

Cut down on screen time

  • Screen time limits the time that could be spend indulging in physical activities. Screen time also exposes your kid to high sugar food ads. Limiting it is like killing two birds at a time.

Weight loss injection

Most people are opting for weight loss injection to help them lose weight. A weight lose shot is often a combination of one or several nutrients that help the body perform natural processes at maximum levels.

Only accredited medical personnel are mandated to administer weight loss injections.

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