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Childhood Obesity: Definition, Causes, and Effect

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Childhood Obesity: Definition, Causes, and Effect

The effects of childhood obesity are actually more serious that it sound. Childhood obesity causes a lot of serious issues even when they reach adulthood. To prevent the effects, we should learn deeper about childhood obesity start from its definition, the general causes, and the effects.

Childhood obesity: is it similar to adult obesity?

Obesity and overweight have been defined from different perspectives. However, there is always one factor that has always been part of the definition that is the body fat or BF. Basically, the definition of overweight and obesity both for adults and children defined with the BF index. According to Williams et al the children in the age of 5 to 18 years old are classified as fat when the percentage of their body fat is at least 30% for girls and 25% boys. When the children have 95th percentile of the body mass index or BMI the have already defined as obesity. Even when the percentile of the BMI reaches 85th the World Health Organization defines it as obesity.

According the research that was conducted in 2007 by the WHO, the childhood obesity cases increased quickly not only in Western countries, but also in Asia, especially the areas closed to the Middle East. In a large study, the result shows that childhood obesity even leads to the children suffer the diabetes type 2 in their adult life. Thus, it would be perfect if you regularly get your children checked since they were baby. Parents should pay attention on the growth and the ideal body weight of every age level.

Prevent obesity is the right thing to do

Prevention is always be the right thing to do. Do not get confused, you just have to know more about the general factors that leads obesity on children. There are several factors that you have to know:

  1. Sugar

The main factor that leads children get fat and even obesity is sugar. A study that is conducted to examine children in the age in between 9 and 14 years old shows that the high consumption of sugar is the main factor that increases BMI. Most children love sweets, especially sugar beverage that has been popular since 1996 until today. Sugary drinks such as soda, canned juice, and all kind of beverage with added sugar contain more sugar and calories than we can ever imagine. Letting children drinking a glass of soda equals to letting them eating four full spoon of sugar.

  1. Snacks

Not only adults, children also love to snack. Unhealthy snacks such as chips, candies, and sweets also contribute to the increasing of BMI. Though it does not mean that children cannot have snacks, parents should limit the consumption of unhealthy snacks and replace it with healthier snacks.

  1. The amount of food they eat

There is no kid aware of the effects of childhood obesity. Thus, they cannot control the portion size of their meal. Some children have tendency to consume large portion of meal out of their snacks and sugary drinks. Of course it makes them get far more calories than they actually need. The extra calories will increase the fat in children’s body so they get obesity.

  1. Activity

Just like adults, children also need to perform healthy and balance lifestyle. Some researches that have been conducted since 2000 shows that more children spend most of their playing time in front of television and gadgets. The time spending of watching TV and playing gadgets decrease the physical activities. It makes children perform only little physical activities. The risk of obesity will increase when the children enjoy some food while watching TV or playing the gadgets. To reduce the time spending in front the TV, the children need support from the family and environment. The whole family have to perform healthy lifestyle so children will enjoy more physical activities such as playing outside or exercising with their parents. It can be quite challenging for some culture and family wrongly define fat kids as healthy kids.

The long effects

The childhood obesity leads to some serious effects, not only on the kids, but also when the kids grow up. There are some general effects that you have to pay attention on.

  1. Psychological effects

Obesity deals not only with physical healths, but also psychological conditions. Children with obesity tend to suffer more psychological problems than children who have ideal weight. There are several psychological effects that children with obesity mostly experience, such as:


A research shows that the childhood obesity leads to obsessive behavior that increase the children’s anxiety symptoms. Although the children are not aware of the situation, they will feel depressed unconsciously. The repressed emotion will lead them to be more emotional person when they reach adulthood age.

Low self-esteem

Children maybe not aware of the shape of their body, but they will experience people’ reaction to their body. Most social domains will react negatively to people with obesity, especially when the kids are about to reach the teenager age. It leads the children to have low self-esteem.

Body dissatisfaction

Society always have their criteria of beauty, especially for girls. Thus, children with obesity tend to deal with body dissatisfaction problem. Even when they are adults and have already lost their weight, the body dissatisfaction still can be a problem. Some people even experience the eating disorder problem, such as feeling guilty every time they eat or tend to crave for unhealthy food when they are emotionally hurt.

  1. Medical effects

Besides the psychological effects, there are also several medical effects that are triggered by childhood obesity. The childhood obesity is clearly linked to a lot of medical issues. The most common medical condition that is lead by childhood obesity is the type 2 diabetes. This situation is caused by the high glucose level in the blood stream. The pancreas may not able to produce enough insulin to decrease the sugar level.

The childhood obesity also associated to the fatty liver disease, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular diseases. The imbalance BMI makes that affects the bloodstream since a person were a kid, will make the blood vessels blocked when she or he reach adulthood. The risk can be even higher when she or he has a tendency of heart diseases. There are also the effects of childhood obesity such as skin conditions, menstrual abnormalities, fertility problems, and sleep apnea.

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