Obesity is no longer a problem that only affects adults. Recent statistics indicate that about one in five children in the U.S. is overweight or obese. This is an alarming number and something that all parents, teachers, and health care workers should be paying attention to. Below are five reasons you should be concerned about the epidemic of childhood obesity.
- Overweight children are likely to become obese adults.
When children are obese, they often grow up to be obese adults. This can easily become a lifelong problem. That’s why parents should not think of it as a phase or something that kids will outgrow. On the contrary, it becomes more difficult to control weight as you get older.
- Childhood obesity increases risks for health problems.
Health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure can affect children as well as adults. Obesity increases the risk for these and other serious conditions. That’s why you should not ignore any signs that your child is becoming overweight.
- Childhood obesity affects self esteem.
Children who are overweight are often targeted for teasing and bullying. Even if this doesn’t happen, kids are often judged by their appearance. Unfortunately, adults may even discriminate against overweight kids, which can have a negative impact on their self esteem.
- Childhood obesity encourages a sedentary lifestyle.
While a sedentary life can contribute to obesity, the reverse is also true. Kids who are overweight may feel awkward about participating in sports and other physical activities. They may also suffer from low energy. This can create a vicious cycle in which they get into the habit of being sedentary, which makes it even harder for them to lose weight.
- Childhood obesity may affect academic performance.
Some studies indicate that obese children tend to have more difficulty learning than non-obese children. This may be due to social discrimination on the part of teachers. Being overweight may also contribute to health issues that make concentration more difficult.