According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, since the 1970s, the obesity rate among children has more than tripled. This means almost one in every five children and adolescents in the United States alone are overweight or obese. Obesity can have a significant impact on a child’s physical and emotional health, and children who are overweight have a greater tendency to remain obese throughout adulthood. Overweight adolescents are also more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases and diabetes at a young age.
When children consume more calories from food and beverages than necessary for them to be able to function healthily, it can lead to excess weight gain over time. However, there are many different causes of childhood obesity beyond eating habits alone. Here’s more information about the most common causes of childhood obesity.
Children with parents who are also overweight may have an increased risk of becoming obese due to genetics or unhealthy learned behaviors. Parents who don’t eat healthy foods or get enough physical activity may be encouraging their children to repeat their patterns. While most parents have their children’s best interest at heart, they may fail to keep junk food and sugary drinks out of the home. Additionally, centering family time around the television can contribute to a child’s lack of physical activity.
A child’s body weight may also be heavily influenced by genes as well. Children with certain inherited genes may gain weight more easily, and predispositions to some medical issues can also lead to childhood obesity. While weight issues may run in some families, not every child with a history of obesity in the family will end up being overweight.