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Obesity means having too much body fat. It is different from being overweight, which means weighing too much. Both terms mean that a person's weight is greater than what's considered healthy for his or her height. Children grow at different rates, so it isn't always easy to know when a child is obese or overweight. Ask your health care provider to check whether your child's weight and height are in a healthy range.

If a weight-loss program is necessary, involve the whole family in healthy habits so your child doesn't feel singled out. Encourage healthy eating by

  • Serving more fruits and vegetables
  • Buying fewer soft drinks and high-fat, high-calorie snack foods
  • Making sure your child eats breakfast every day
  • Eating fast food less often
  • Not using food as a reward

Physical activity is also very important. Kids need about 60 minutes each day. It does not have to happen all at once. Several short periods of activity during the day are just as good.

NIH: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Symptoms of Obesity in Children

The following features are indicative of Obesity in Children:
  • increased body weight
  • increased body mass index
  • large body frame than average

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Common Causes of Obesity in Children

The following are the most common causes of Obesity in Children:
  • unhealthy diet
  • poor eating habits
  • no physical activities

Risk Factors for Obesity in Children

The following factors may increase the likelihood of Obesity in Children:
  • unhealthy diet
  • lack of exercise
  • psychological factors
  • socioeconomic factors
  • genetic factors
  • family lifestyle
  • medical problems (hypothyroidism)

Prevention of Obesity in Children

Yes, it may be possible to prevent Obesity in Children. Prevention may be possible by doing the following:
  • limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages
  • eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
  • exercise regularly
  • adjust food portion sizes appropriately for age

Occurrence of Obesity in Children

Number of Cases

The following are the number of Obesity in Children cases seen each year worldwide:
  • Very common > 10 Million cases

Common Age Group

Obesity in Children most commonly occurs in the following age group:
  • Aged between 5-10 years

Common Gender

Obesity in Children can occur in any gender.

Lab Tests and Procedures for Diagnosis of Obesity in Children

The following lab tests and procedures are used to detect Obesity in Children:
  • Physical exam: To measure height, vital signs and abdomen
  • Body mass index (BMI) calculation: To determine level of obesity
  • Measuring waist circumference: To determine level of obesity
  • Blood tests: To determine risk factors and any current symptoms

Doctor for Diagnosis of Obesity in Children

Patients should visit the following specialists if they have symptoms of Obesity in Children:
  • Endocrinologist

Complications of Obesity in Children if untreated

Yes, Obesity in Children causes complications if it is not treated. Below is the list of complications and problems that may arise if Obesity in Children is left untreated:
  • type 2 diabetes
  • metabolic syndrome
  • high cholesterol
  • high blood pressure
  • asthma
  • sleep disorders
  • nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
  • depression
  • low self-esteem and being bullied
  • behavior and learning problems

Procedures for Treatment of Obesity in Children

The following procedures are used to treat Obesity in Children:
  • Weight loss surgery: To reduce excess body fat

Self-care for Obesity in Children

The following self-care actions or lifestyle changes may help in the treatment or management of Obesity in Children:
  • Regular exercise: To achieve and maintain a healthy weight
  • Maintain healthy diet: To maintain normal body weight

Patient Support for Treatment of Obesity in Children

The following actions may help Obesity in Children patients:
  • Parents support: Focus conversation on healthy eating and positive body image
  • Discourage dieting: Encourage and support healthy eating
  • Talk to child about his or her feelings: Help child find ways to deal with emotions

Last updated date

This page was last updated on 2/04/2019.
This page provides information for Obesity in Children.
Body Weight
Child Nutrition
Weight Control

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