While being overweight during childhood is serious in that it often leads to obesity in adulthood, it’s also harmful during the childhood years as well. Two new Danish studies which highlight this fact once again have been released, and it’s a sobering reminder to parents to make sure their child is maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Adult obesity is known to be linked to many harmful conditions, and now childhood obesity has been shown to increase the risk of many harmful conditions, including colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, knee and hip pain, and strokes during early adulthood.
This doesn’t even address the fact that being overweight during childhood can contribute to a low self-esteem and poor habits. Insults and bullying from other kids may even lead to weight gain.
Excess weight gain is most typical around the ages of five and six, as well as during adolescence. Birth weight, race, and economic statues don’t seem to play into the picture at all, but early childhood weight gain does. While many parents assume that their kids will eventually “grow into” their weight, this typically doesn’t happen. If anything, most children end up gaining more weight. A 2014 study found that “overweight 5-year-olds were four times as likely as normal-weight children to become obese by age 14”, and 80% of overweight kids between the ages of ten and thirteen will likely be overweight as adults, too.
Dr. Daniels, of the University of Colorado, encourages parents to “limit high-calorie-dense foods, keep sugar-sweetened beverages out of the house and assure that kids eat the right amount of fruits and vegetables and fewer calorie-dense snacks.” He also emphasized the need for physical exercise, and warned against excess TV watching.