Understanding the Facts About Childhood Obesity
Obesity among children and young adults has a high prevalence in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control, approximately 13.4% of children aged 2-5 are considered obese according to BMI standards set by the CDC. Obesity occurs in 20.3% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 21.2% of 12- to 19-year-olds. Obesity is most common in Hispanic children and non-Hispanic Black children.
Obesity Affects All Aspects of a Child’s Life
While certain ethnicities have a higher incidence of obesity than others, the effects are the same for all children. Obesity doesn’t just affect a child’s physical health. Evidence strongly suggests that there is a link between childhood obesity and depression. Obesity can wreak havoc on a child’s self-esteem, causing them to withdraw from social situations, experience bullying due to the stigma associated with obesity, and have poor mental and emotional health. It’s no secret that overweight and obese children are targeted by playground bullies because of their size. The effects of bullying and social isolation can cause the child to become depressed. Because of these reasons, taking action to treat your child’s obesity is critical.
Why Taking Action Now is Critical
Left untreated, childhood obesity and its effects become more serious and even more difficult to undo. The depression caused by obesity may lead to emotional eating, which only worsens the child’s physical health. As your child grows up and faces more difficult life challenges, overeating and self-esteem issues may make it harder for them to cope with common changes like divorce, family deaths, moves, and graduation. Getting your child’s obesity under control before they enter adulthood can help them avoid long-term mental health and self-esteem issues. Obese adults face discrimination at colleges, workplaces, and in social settings. If your child is obese, getting them the help they need now will benefit them greatly in the future, mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially.
Treatments Available for Childhood Obesity
If your child is obese and/or depressed, the Pediatrics team at Atracare Health can help. Obesity is treated by changing diet and lifestyle habits. Your child’s doctor can develop a diet and exercise plan that will help them achieve a healthier weight. Therapy and medication may also be used to treat obesity when it is coupled with depression. In some cases, surgery can be helpful in treating obesity.
What Causes Childhood Obesity?
There are several predisposing factors that can lead to childhood obesity. A sedentary lifestyle and poor diet aren’t the only factors that cause obesity. Genetics, the Melanocortin 4 receptor gene, and prenatal influences can also predispose a child to obesity. Stress, lack of sleep, unhealthy home environments, and socio-geographic factors can also lead to childhood obesity.
Choose Atracare Health for Your Child’s Pediatric Care
Pediatricians Dr. Lewis and Dr. Childers are the area’s leading doctors for children and young adults under age 18. Childhood obesity can have severe effects that worsen as a child enters adulthood. Give your child a brighter, healthier future by making a pediatric appointment at Atracare today. Simply text 302-517-1385 to schedule an appointment at our clinic in Lewes, Delaware.