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Risk Factors For Childhood Obesity

risk factors childhood obesity

Obesity is a complex condition that is influenced to a great extent by work habits, transportation or commute patterns, and technology. At the basic level, obesity is caused by consuming more calories than you burn.

Early identification of risk factors is critical to preventing the childhood obesity epidemic. These risk factors that contribute to obesity are multifactorial. Pieces of evidence that has been gathered so far, suggests that the origins of childhood obesity and related disparities can be found as early as the period from conception to age 2 years.

There are several substantial causes and risk factors for the development of obesity:


Regularly eating high-calorie diets, can cause a child to easily gain weight. Such foods include fast foods, baked goods, and vending machine snacks, candy and desserts. Also, more and more evidence points to sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity in some people.

Lack Of Exercise

Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn off as many calories as they should in relation to their calorie intake.

Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem of Obesity.

Family Factors

Children from a family of overweight people may be more likely to put on weight, and this is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn’t encouraged.

Psychological Factors

Parental and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity since it is known that some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom.

Socio-Economic Factors

People in some communities have limited resources and limited access to good foodstuffs from supermarkets. As a result, they may opt for convenience foods such as frozen meals, crackers, and cookies. Additionally, people who live in lower income neighborhoods might not have access to a safe place for recreation and exercise.

Health Effects Of Childhood Obesity

The consequences of childhood obesity may be grouped into physical, mental, and economic. The known physical side effects of obesity include the following:

  1. Increase in risk of developing type 2 diabetes, due to excessive insulin secretion and organ resistance to insulin
  2. Menstrual irregularity
  3. Infertility in some cases
  4. Heart attack and stroke due to hypercholesterolemia, and
  5. Pulmonary health issues centering on asthma and obstructive sleep apnea
  6. Orthopedic issues of bowed legs and hip instability, e.g, slipped capital femoral epiphysis.
  7. Metabolic issues like non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, gallstones, and gastroesophageal reflux.

Psychological consequences include:


  • Low self-esteem often accompanied by teasing and bullying at school as well as the recurring ideal physique displayed by the media and entertainment industries.
  • Depression, which may lead to eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa

The economic consequences of childhood obesity are not often considered, but include the following:

  • The direct costs of medical visits, diagnostic studies, and therapeutic services, plus
  • Indirect costs from the decrease in productivity, absenteeism, and premature death. Studies estimate that over $147 billion is spent annually on the direct and indirect costs associated with obesity.



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