Obesity

Obesity Specialist
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. Dr. Nkem Nnaeto offers help for childhood obesity for patients in East Orange, New Jersey at Universal Pediatrics, Inc in Essex County.

Obesity Q & A

by Nkem Nnaeto, MD, FAAP

What is childhood obesity?

Children who are considered obese exceed the normal weight for their age and height. The excessive weight often starts children on a path to health problems that used to be reserved for adults such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Many obese remain obese into adulthood, especially if one or both parents are obese. Childhood obesity can lead to poor self-esteem and depression.

What are the symptoms of childhood obesity?

Not all children carrying extra pounds are overweight or obese. If you suspect your child is obese it is best to get a proper examination. Your child's doctor will use growth charts, BMI index, and other tests that can help figure out if your child's weight could pose health problems. The BMI, or body mass index, provides a guideline of weight in relation to height and is the accepted measure of overweight and obesity. This can help determine if your child's weight is in an unhealthy range.

What are the causes that lead to childhood obesity?

Lifestyle issues are one of the main issues relating to childhood obesity. Lack of physical activity and too many calories combined contribute to childhood obesity. Genetic and hormonal factors can also play a role.

Many factors can increase your child's risk of becoming overweight. These include:

  • Diet - Regularly consumption of high-calorie foods can cause your child to gain excess weight. More evidence is showing that sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity.
  • Lack of exercise - Children who are mostly sedentary and don't exercise much are more likely to gain weight.
  • Genetic factors – If obesity runs in the family your child may be more likely to put on weight.
  • Psychological factors - Personal, parental, and family stress can increase a child's risk of obesity.

One of the best ways to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the eating habits and increase exercise regularity, of your entire family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child's health now and in the future. Visit Dr. Nnaeto for help in developing a program.

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