Pediatric Obesity Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment

Pediatric Obesity: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis & Treatment

Pediatric Obesity Symptoms

Anybody can suffer from obesity irrespective of gender, age & place. Often it is the family history that plays a vital role in developing obesity early in age. Few develop it because of depression too.

Ideally, there are various possibilities to fall short for such diseases. This article articulates how where and why does obesity harm the body and its overall health.

One of the best strategies to reduce childhood obesity is to improve the eating and exercise habits of your entire family. Treating and preventing childhood obesity helps protect your child’s health now and in the future.

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Symptoms causing Obesity

Teenagers are often the most targeted to the obesity issues, any imbalance in the hormones are directly targeted on the growth.

Often children who are not treated or have got the adequate amount of nutrition suffer from pediatric obesity.

Each child may experience different symptoms but some of the most common include:

  • Appearance: stretch marks on hips and abdomen; dark, velvety skin (known as acanthosis nigricans) around the neck and in other areas; fatty tissue deposition in the breast area (an especially troublesome issue for boys)
  • Psychological: teasing and abuse; poor self-esteem; eating disorders
  • Pulmonary: shortness of breath when physically active; sleep apnea
  • Gastroenterological: constipation, gastroesophageal reflux
  • Reproductive: early puberty and irregular menstrual cycles in girls; delayed puberty in boys; genitals may appear disproportionately small in males
  • Orthopedic: flat feet; knock-knees; dislocated hip too

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Causes

In most cases, though, children are overweight because of fast-food exposure and a very sedentary lifestyle.

Reasons why more and more children are becoming obese include:

Behavioural factors: eating bigger portions, eating foods that are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor (junk foods), spending lots of time in front of the television or computer and spending too little time doing physical activities

Environmental factors: easy access to high-calorie junk foods, few opportunities for physical activity, lack of parks and playgrounds in some communities

Genetic factors: A child is at increased risk for obesity when at least one parent is obese. However, genes do not necessarily mean a child is destined to be overweight—there are several steps a child can take to lower his risk.

Medications: steroids, some antidepressants and others

Medical conditions: Genetic syndromes like Prader-Willi, and hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism are among the medical disorders that can cause obesity

The “body weight set point theory” suggests that weight is determined by complex interactions of genetic, hormonal and metabolic factors.

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Risk factors:

How is a child’s risk for obesity determined?

There are several tools your doctor might use to determine if your child is at risk for obesity, including:

  • Plotting your child’s BMI percentile yearly to see if there’s a sudden increase
  • The early years of childhood that pinpoint that there is rapid weight gain in the babies signal us that they are at risk of becoming overweight.
  • Birth weight and gestational diabetes: these factors may increase a child’s risk for obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life
  • A family history of obesity, type II diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, sleep apnea and early heart attack:
  • These factors can also put a child at increased risk for obesity and associated medical complications.

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Diagnosis and Treatment:

Treatment for childhood obesity is based on your child’s age and if he or she has other medical conditions.

Treatment usually includes changes in your child’s eating habits and physical activity level. In certain circumstances, treatment might include medications or weight-loss surgery.

Treatment for children who are overweight

This strategy allows the child to add inches in height but not pounds, causing the BMI to drop over time into a healthier range.

Healthy eating

Parents are the ones who buy groceries, cook meals and decide where the food is eaten. Even small changes can make a big difference in your child’s health.

When food shopping, choose fruits and vegetables. Cut back on convenience foods — such as cookies, crackers and prepared meals — which are often high in sugar, fat and calories. Always have healthy snacks available.

Limit sweetened beverages. This includes those that contain fruit juice. These drinks provide little nutritional value in exchange for their high calories. They can also make your child feel too full to eat healthier foods.

Limit fast food. Many of the menu options are high in fat and calories.

Sit down together for family meals. Make it an event — a time to share news and tell stories. Discourage eating in front of a TV, computer or video game screen, which can lead to fast eating and lowered awareness of the amount eaten.

Serve appropriate portion sizes. Children don’t need as much food as adults do. Allow your child to eat only until full, even if that means leaving food on the plate. And remember, when you eat out, restaurant portion sizes are often way too large.

Physical activity

A critical part of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight, especially for children, is physical activity. It burns calories, strengthens bones and muscles, and helps children sleep well at night and stay alert during the day.

To increase your child’s activity level:

Limit TV and recreational computer time to no more than 2 hours a day for children older than 2. Don’t allow children younger than 2 to watch television. Other sedentary activities — playing video and computer games, talking on the phone, or texting — also should be limited.

Medications

Medication might be prescribed for some adolescents as part of an overall weight-loss plan. The risks of taking prescription medication over the long term are unknown, and medications’ effects on weight loss and weight maintenance for adolescents is still in question.

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Weight-loss surgery

Weight-loss surgery might be an option for severely obese adolescents who have been unable to lose weight through lifestyle changes. However, as with any type of surgery, there are potential risks and long-term complications. Discuss the pros and cons with your child’s doctor.

Eating bigger portions, eating foods that are calorie-rich but nutrient-poor (junk foods), spending lots of time in front of the television or computer and spending too little time doing physical activities

Environmental factors: easy access to high-calorie junk foods, few opportunities for physical activity, lack of parks and playgrounds in some communities

Genetic factors: A child is at increased risk for obesity when at least one parent is obese. However, genes do not necessarily mean a child is destined to be overweight—there are several steps a child can take to lower his risk.

Medications: steroids, some antidepressants and others

Medical conditions: Genetic syndromes like Prader-Willi, and hormonal conditions like hypothyroidism are among the medical disorders that can cause obesity

The “body weight set point theory” suggests that weight is determined by complex interactions of genetic, hormonal and metabolic factors.

 

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