Obesity in children is a common disease and is on the rise. The disease puts children at increased risk of early puberty and other dangerous diseases such as sleep apnea syndrome, chronic diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer…
What is childhood obesity?
Obesity in children is a condition in which the body accumulates too much fat, causing negative effects on the child\’s health and development. Therefore, obesity is not only assessed through the weight/height ratio but also based on the body fat ratio.
How to calculate obesity index in children according to BMI index
BMI (Body Mass Index) is a calculation used to evaluate the amount of excess fat accumulated on the body based on height and weight. In children, the standard BMI will change with age because children are in the growth phase, height and weight change rapidly. Additionally, BMI can vary by gender and ethnicity.
How to calculate BMI: BMI = W/H^2
H: Height in units (meters – m);
W: Weight of obese children in units (kilograms – kg).
Causes of obesity in children
Obesity in children can be caused by many different reasons. However, most cases of childhood illness are related to the following factors:
1. Due to improper nutrition
In fact, up to 60 – 80% of childhood obesity cases come from improper nutrition. Nutritional imbalance, children eating too much fat (fast food, fried foods, etc.) or carbohydrates (food high in sugar, ice cream, tea, cakes, soft drinks, etc.) also increases the risk. obesity in children.
In addition, many parents\’ view that eating as much as possible causes children to eat more than their body needs. These excess nutrients and energy are converted into excess fat that accumulates in the body\’s organs (viscera, face, hands, chest, abdomen, etc.).
2. Due to genetic causes
Some studies have shown that obesity in children is related to genetic factors. Children born into a family with a relative (father, mother, brother, sister) who is obese are at higher risk of obesity than children born into a normal family with no history of this disease. . If one parent is obese, the child\’s risk of being obese increases by 50%, and this risk increases by 80% if both parents are obese.
3. Due to social psychology
The risk of obesity in children increases when children are constantly under pressure, stress, and psychological trauma. Children born into families where parents often quarrel or create pressure to study will be psychologically damaged, easily agitated, and angry. From there, children tend to eat more, especially sweets to reduce pressure. This causes children to quickly become overweight and obese.
In addition, the risk of child obesity will also increase when children have bad habits (eating while watching TV, being lazy, sitting/lying for too long, lack of sleep…) or suffering from diseases related to the internal organs. secretions (hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism, adrenal hyperfunction, primary hyperinsulinism, etc.), brain damage, use of drugs that increase the risk of obesity (prednisone, lithium, amitriptyline, paroxetine, gabapentin, propranolol) ,…
How to diagnose obesity in children
Normally, obesity in children will be diagnosed based on the child\’s BMI according to age and growth chart. In addition, the doctor may ask more about the history of obesity as well as related health problems of the child and relatives, eating habits, lifestyle, exercise, and psychological problems encountered.
Some tests that may be required to determine the child\’s status and level of obesity include:
Blood sugar test;
Blood tests check for hormonal imbalances or related health problems.
Harmful effects of obesity in children
When not detected and with appropriate treatment support methods, obesity in children seriously affects their psychology and physical health (height, health), causing children to reach puberty early. Furthermore, the disease also affects body functions such as respiratory, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal system development, metabolic disorders, digestion, and the ability to absorb nutrients…
Some harmful effects of childhood obesity include:
Cardiovascular disease: Hyperlipidemia (high levels of cholesterol and lipids in the blood), hypertension, coronary artery disease, stroke, stroke.
Type 2 diabetes: The disease occurs because the body does not metabolize glucose properly, affecting the eyes, nerves and kidney functions.
Gallstones: The risk of this disease increases 3-4 times when children are obese, especially abdominal obesity.
Cancer: In women, the rate of breast, gallbladder, and cervical cancer increases. In men, the rate of kidney and prostate cancer increases.
Joint diseases: Osteoarthritis, arthritis, spinal pain,…
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Skin diseases: Acne, rashes…
Obesity and overweight make children\’s bodies heavy, difficult to move, and prone to accidents. However, surgery and wound healing in obese children are more difficult than usual, complications are more likely to occur, thereby increasing the risk of disability and death.
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