Healthy Weight Week will be observed Jan. 15–21, so this is a good time for a reminder of the connection between weight and health during childhood.
The prevalence of obesity in adults in the U.S. increased from 30.5% to 41.9% from 1999–2020, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2% in the same time frame. And the rate of childhood obesity is a serious problem in the U.S., as well.
Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start children on the path to health problems that once were considered adult problems.
Being overweight or obese is a risk factor for:
Also, children who have obesity may experience teasing or bullying by their peers. This can result in a loss of self-esteem and an increased risk of depression and anxiety.
Here are some ways you can help your child achieve and maintain a healthy weight:
Treatment for childhood obesity is based on your child's age and whether there are other medical conditions. The first steps usually include changes in your child's eating habits and physical activity level. In certain circumstances, treatment might include medications or weight-loss surgery.
Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child's health now and in the future.