Childhood obesity is a growing issue in the United States, affecting nearly 15 million children. If children are overweight, they are at risk for a variety of health issues as they age.

Type II Diabetes 

Type II diabetes was once referred to as adult-onset diabetes since it was primarily seen in older adults. However, the rise in childhood obesity has led to people of younger ages developing type II diabetes. When you have type II diabetes, there is an excess amount of sugar circulating in your blood. This is due to two factors. Your pancreas struggles to produce enough insulin that regulates blood sugar levels, and your cells don’t properly respond to insulin. This leaves more sugar circulating in the blood. When left untreated, type II diabetes can lead to heart issues, nerve damage, kidney disease, sleep apnea, hearing and vision problems, skin conditions, and more.

Joint and Bone Issues 

Carrying excess weight puts stress on your body. If a child is overweight for a long time, it can lead to their joints and bones weakening. Each pound of weight applies 4-6 pounds of pressure to the joints. Overweight children may experience joint pain and could even develop osteoarthritis. This is especially prevalent in the knees and hips. Excess weight can also wear down the joints, causing them to rub against each other. This too will cause pain and stiffness. Joint and bone issues can impede movement and cause lasting issues. Losing weight can help reduce the risk of future problems.

Respiratory Issues 

Much like excess weight puts strain on the joints, it also puts pressure on the respiratory system. Often, the weight constricts the airways which forces your pulmonary system to work much harder. If the weight is not lost, then you may develop a variety of issues. These include asthma, pulmonary embolism, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, sleep apnea, and more. Breathing is an essential function that provides your body with the oxygen it needs to function. If you struggle to breathe, then your body can begin to fail.

Sleep Disorders 

Sleep is affected by weight in many ways. Excess body weight impacts your metabolism and disrupts your sleep and wake cycles. Those who are obese are also likely to have higher amounts of soft tissue. This excess tissue in the neck can put pressure on the airways and lead to issues like sleep apnea or snoring. People who are obese are more likely to experience insomnia which is when they struggle to fall or stay asleep at night. During the day, they are more likely to feel tired or exhausted. Inadequate sleep can quickly lead to a decline in your overall health. Losing weight and making positive lifestyle changes can help address the extra weight and get someone back on track with their other health habits.

Eating Disorders 

Another common issue among people who are obese is eating disorders. Many people will develop eating disorders due to the shame they feel about their weight or they may develop certain compulsions. Eating disorders are often not within someone’s control. A person might binge on food unintentionally and then the guilt causes them to purge. Over time, unhealthy patterns develop that only deteriorate their health further.

Obesity causes many problems within the body. Some of these problems might be evident now and others develop after a long time without any lifestyle adjustments. If your child is obese, you should work with them to help them make healthy choices and reduce their weight.

If you’re concerned about your child, you may want to seek professional help. Click here to find a pediatric doctor at Premier Family Medical.