Childhood Obesity: Causes, Diet, Treatment of Obese Children

Childhood obesity

Obesity is considered as most widely spread physical disorder of the human body and has become a vast problem as a obese children. In the modern era, decrease in the physical activity, change in the dietary patter, especially most of the people adopting junk food like bread, chips etc, can increase the risk of obesity and obese children.


If an excessive fat accumulates in the body it is known as Obesity. A person is considered to be obese children, if the body weight is more than 25 percent in boys and more than 32 percent in girls.

Obese children

childhood obesity or obese children is defined as, if 120 percent more weight compare its height ratio is known as childhood obesity.

Obese children are usually measured by using skin fold measurement, mainly the amount of fat present in the sub scapular region, calf and triceps reason. In this triceps and calf or triceps and sub scapular, or calf alone have been used with children and adolescent to find out obese children. If the skin fold in boys is more than 10-25 and 16-30 in girls is present it is considered as normal.

The problem associated with  childhood obesity are

Obese children has more risk of getting Type 2 Diabetes mellitus, which is increasingly diagnosed in children now days. Type 2 diabetes is previously considered that it is found only in adolescence. Type 2 diabetes is caused due to increased risk of pediatric hypertension.

  • Bulimia: It is an eating disorder, may associated with obese children.
  • Respiratory problems such as restriction in the chest wall, causes breathlessness; airway obstruction, etc were found in obese person or in obese children.
  • Liver may damage in obese children.
  • Sleep apnea: a condition in which there occur a difficulty in breathing during sleeping,
  • Cardiac disorders such as Cardiomyopathy may occur in obese children. Cardiomyopathy is a problem associated with heart muscles, in which there is a need of an extra effort to pump the blood from the heart; obesity increases the risk of coronary heart disease,atherosclerosis, and diabetes.
  • Other body system disorders involve gallstones, arthritis and hernia.
  • Orthopedic problems also associated obese children.
  • Obesity increases stress on weight-bearing joints.
  • Obese children will have low self-esteem, which affects the Child relationship with his/her peer group.
  • Obese children may get psychological problems and affects social relationship as well.
  • Low life expectation is also seen in obese children. etc

Causes of children obesity

If the amount of intake is more than the amount of energy expenditure, the body will store excessive energy as fat. If this process continues more and more fat will get accumulate in our body and that causes obesity. The following are the causes which lead  obesity in obese children.

Genetics/Hereditary : If the parents are having obesity in their family that is the main cause of the obesity in infants and obese children. And some of the genetic disorders that too were the cause of the obese children.

Food : food is the primary factor to cause obesity. Whatever food we select those decide our physical development and our mental development as well. Foods that rich in high fat and sugar rich foods cause obesity.

Sedentary life style : It decreases physical activity of a child, increases the accumulation of fat and other things in the body. The children who spend more time in watching the television, playing video games, spending more time inside the room with less energy expenditure are more prone to develop obesity.
Alcohol intake increases the risk of obesity. Alcohol increases the calories in liquid form in addition to a full diet.

Assessment of obese children

Obese children can be assessed by the estimation of total body weight, measuring skin-fold, and by measuring body weight. If body weight is higher than normal by 20 percent may be considered as obese.

Prevention of obesity

It is the more important responsibility of all the parents to prevent the obesity in its early stage. According to one proverb “Prevention is than to cure”, so it is better to prevent the development of obesity than its cure. The following are the remedies that help you to prevent and cure the obesity in children.

Nutritional therapy for obese children : Principles of nutritional therapy are as follows.

  • Eat regularly.
  • Do not skip meals.
  • Eating regular meals which are low in calories,
  • Avoiding high calorie foods frequently.
  • Measure foods to determine the correct portion size.
  • Avoid concentrated sweets, such as sugar, candy, honey, pies, cakes, cookies, and regular sodas in obese children.
  • Increase the intake of more green leafy vegetables, fruits and adapting to the vegetarian diet will reduce  obesity risk in obese children and keeps the person or child in healthy condition.

Exercise : is an essential part of a weight-control program. Exercise increases energy loss, hence it increases appetite, but in a later stage it has an opposite action. Exercise increases body fat distribution, hence it reduce the waist-hip ratio as exercise is continues. Maintain a regular exercise program for successful weight loss  in obese children.

Behavior Modification: It involves self-monitoring, stimulus control, and rewards.

Drug Therapy: Drugs have been used in the treatment of the obesity but only as adjuncts to a good diet and exercise program. There are two categories of drugs used to treat obesity. They are as follows,

Appetite-suppressing drugs. Eg- Adipex-P, Fasting.
Nutrient absorption-blocking drugs. Eg- Xanical.

Surgery is  performed to reduce childhood obesity

  • Lipectomy : It is performed to remove unsightly flabby folds of adipose tissue in obese children.
  • Liposuction: Here excessive fatty tissue is removed by using the method of suction. The areas involved in this procedure are chin, abdomen, waist and upper thighs of obese children.
  • Gastrointestinal Surgeries: like a Vertical banded gastroplasty- It consist of construction a small pouch with a restricted outlet along the lesser curvature of the stomach in obese children. This reduces the gastric capacity and hence will reduce the obesity in obese children. It’s advantages involves, this procedure is easy to perform , more normal anatomy and physiology can maintained in children.
  • Roux-en-Y: Gastric bypass procedure involves constructing a proximal gastric pouch whose outlet is a Y-shaped limb of small bowel. This reduces gastric capacity, some malabsorption. It has advantage as it helps in large weight loss in obese children.

Leave a Comment