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Childhood Obesity - Symptoms

The symptoms of childhood obesity are as follows:

  • increased weight that is at least 20% more than the normal for that age;.
  • increased body mass index (BMI), which will show a higher fat content than normal;
  • poor eating habits that usually include overeating and indulgence in food; and
  • a lack of desire to do any physical exercise.

Complications

Physical complications

High cholesterol and high blood pressure: a child can develop high blood pressure or high cholesterol because of a poor diet. This can also lead to heart attacks and strokes later in life.

Diabetes: type 2 diabetes is commonly linked to obesity. Children who do not get enough exercise are prone to developing diabetes as they age.

Metabolic syndrome: this causes high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglycerides and low HDL (good cholesterol).

Asthma: children who are overweight are more likely to have asthma, sleep disorders, sleep apnea and other disorders linked to childhood obesity.

Early puberty or menstruation: childhood obesity can cause hormonal imbalances that lead to an early onset of puberty.

Emotional complications

We often tend to forget the importance of emotional complications among children who have childhood obesity. Some of them are listed below.

  • Low self-esteem: children who are obese may suffer from low self-esteem.
  • Depression: low self-esteem can cause depression in obese children. Such children lose interest in normal activities and avoid playing with other children or socialising with people in their age group.
  • Behavioural or learning problems: overweight children tend to have more anxiety and weaker social skills than normal children. This may give rise to behavioural and learning problems at school or at home.

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