What conditions may be caused by obesity in children?

Obesity causes an increase in your child's risk of getting certain medical problems and conditions. Ask healthcare providers for more information about the following:

  • Asthma: Asthma is a lung disease, which causes your child's airways to be narrow or blocked. Your child may have trouble breathing and may make a wheezing noise when he breathes.

  • Bone and joint problems: Your child could get arthritis or other problems that affect the way his bones grow.

  • Cancer: Cancer is caused by abnormal cells that divide and grow too fast. Obesity increases the risk of your child getting cancer of the kidney, esophagus and colon (bowel).

  • Type 2 diabetes: Diabetes decreases your child's ability to make and use insulin. Insulin moves glucose (sugar) from food into the body's cells for energy. Diabetes can lead to other problems, including kidney disease, blindness and poor blood flow to the feet.

  • Endocrine gland disorders: Endocrine gland disorders include high levels of sex hormones that cause your child to mature sooner. Girls may begin menstruation (having monthly periods) sooner than expected and get polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which can cause missed or irregular monthly periods, as well as other signs and symptoms.

  • High blood pressure: Having high blood pressure (hypertension) means that the pressure in your child's blood vessels is higher than it should be. Hypertension causes your child's heart to work harder and can weaken his heart over time.

  • High cholesterol: Too much fat in the blood is called high cholesterol. Having high cholesterol increases your child's risk of getting heart disease or having a stroke.

  • Sleep apnea: Your child may stop breathing for short periods of time while sleeping. When a child has trouble breathing and loud snoring, the level of oxygen in his blood can fall.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.