Anti-Obesity Day: Improving overall lifestyle of family can prevent childhood obesity

Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child's health now and in the future

Childhood obesity

HYDERABAD: Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. It's particularly troubling because the extra pounds often lead to health problems that were once considered adult problems — diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Childhood obesity can also lead to poor self-esteem and depression.

One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the eating and exercise habits of the entire family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child's health now and in the future.


Not all children carrying extra pounds are overweight. Some children have larger than average body frames. And children normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development. So you might not know by how your child looks if weight is a health concern.

The body mass index (BMI), which provides a guideline of weight in relation to height, is the accepted measure of overweight and obesity. Your child's doctor can use growth charts, the BMI and, if necessary, other tests to help you figure out if your child's weight could pose health problems.

When to see a doctor

If you're worried that your child is putting on too much weight, talk to his or her doctor. The doctor will consider your child's history of growth and development, your family's weight-for-height history, and where your child lands on the growth charts. This can help determine if your child's weight is in an unhealthy range.

Causes and risk factors

Lifestyle issues — too little activity and too many calories from food and drinks — are the main contributors to childhood obesity. But genetic and hormonal factors might play a role as well.

Diet- Regularly eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight. Candy, desserts, sugary drinks, including fruit juices and sports drinks provide high calories which leads to excess weight.

Lack of exercise : Children who don't exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn as many calories. Too much time spent in sedentary activities, such as watching television or playing video games, also contributes to the problem. TV shows also often feature ads for unhealthy foods.

Family factors : Children tend to impersonate parents, so familial diet patterns play an important role. This is especially true in an environment where high-calorie foods are always available and physical activity isn't encouraged.

Psychological factors : Personal, parental and family stress can increase a child's risk of obesity. Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress, or to fight boredom. Their parents might have similar tendencies.

Socioeconomic factors : Easy access to high calorie processed foods has caused an increase in childhood obesity

Certain medications- Some prescription drugs can increase the risk of developing obesity. They include prednisone, lithium, amitriptyline, paroxetine, gabapentin etc can cause weight gain genetic disorders; some genetic disorders like Prader Willi syndrome can lead to obesity


Childhood obesity often causes complications in a child's physical, social and emotional well-being.

Lifestyle modification, adopting healthy diet patters and engaging in physical activities will be helpful in addressing the weight issues and also overall development of the child says Dr. Naveen Kumar CH, Consultant Surgical Gastroenterologist, KIMS Hospitals, Kondapur.

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