Fight Childhood Obesity: Overweight Children & Child Obesity

The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese.

by Karen Sibal

It was at my daughter’s 8th birthday party – a pool party – when I really started noticing how overweight some kids are becoming nowadays. There was this one little girl who consumed so much cake and pizza – enough to sustain both of my children for lunch and dinner. Then there was another chubby little girl, clearly huffing and puffing, trying her best to keep up with the others who were just splashing around and having fun, doing nothing really strenuous at all.

Why are our kids getting fat? Do we simply feed our kids more than our parents fed us? Or are we just not active enough? Maybe we’re just not eating right. How can we ensure our kids – the future generation of America – are fit and healthy? Read on to learn more about childhood obesity and for some interesting ideas on how you and your family and stay ahead of the battle of the bulge. rcent chance of being obese.  Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

Childhood Obesity – The Facts

The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. According to this article from Discover Magazine, the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, between 16 and 33 percent of children of all ages and adolescent are obese and overweight.  Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat.  The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.  Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they include and adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise.1

Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a grave issue that continues to plague our society, affecting the health and well-being of countless overweight children worldwide. With children facing an increasingly sedentary lifestyle and a proliferation of unhealthy food options, the prevalence of childhood obesity has reached alarming levels that include lack of exercise. The world Health Organization defines obesity as the abnormal or excessive accumulation of fat that presents a risk to an individual’s health. Regrettably, this epidemic has become more prevalent in recent years, jeopardizing the well-being of our young ones. 

Children today face numerous challenges that contribute to their susceptibility to childhood obesity. Sedentary behaviors, such as prolonged screen time and reduced physical activity, have become the norm for many children, leading to an energy imbalance that fosters weight gain. Additionally, the availability of cheap, high-calorie foods and beverages, coupled with aggressive marketing targeted at children, has created an obesogenic environment that promotes unhealthy eating habits.

Childhood obesity has significant consequences on both physical and psychological well-being. Obese children are more likely to develop chronic health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and musculoskeletal disorders. Moreover, the psycho-social impact of a child’s obesity cannot be overlooked, as it often leads to low self-esteem, depression, and social stigmatization. These burdensome effects can persist into adulthood, exacerbating the risk of further health complications.

The alarming rise in childhood obesity demands immediate attention and action from parents, healthcare professionals, and policymakers alike. Prevention is crucial, and it starts with education and awareness. Parents play a vital role in promoting healthy lifestyles for their children by providing nutritious meals, encouraging physical activity, and limiting sedentary behaviors. By fostering a supportive environment that values active play and wholesome eating, parents can help prevent childhood obesity and set their children on a path towards lifelong health.

Healthcare professionals also play a critical role in addressing a child’s obesity. Regular check-ups allow for early detection and intervention, helping to identify potential risk factors and provide tailored guidance for families. Physicians can offer evidence-based advice on nutrition, physical activity, and screen time limits, ensuring that children receive the necessary tools to maintain a healthy weight.

Policymakers have a responsibility to implement strategies that prioritize the health of our children. This includes promoting nutrition education in schools, regulating food advertising targeted at children, and creating safe spaces for physical activity in communities. By enacting policies that support healthy environments, we can protect our children from the perils of childhood obesity and foster a society that values a child’s well-being.

Addressing childhood obesity requires a multi-faceted approach that encompasses the home, school, healthcare system, and wider community. Collaboration among parents, educators, healthcare professionals, and policymakers is essential to implement effective prevention and intervention strategies. This can involve incorporating physical activity into the school curriculum, improving access to affordable, healthy foods in underserved areas, and engaging community organizations to promote active lifestyles for children nationwide.

It is crucial to recognize that childhood obesity is a complex issue with no simple solution. However, the first step towards tackling this epidemic affecting our children is acknowledging its gravity and taking proactive measures to address it. By prioritizing the health and well-being of our children and future generations, we can create a generation that is resilient to the dangers of obesity and equipped with the tools to lead healthy, fulfilling lives.

In conclusion, childhood obesity poses a significant threat to the well-being of our children and teens. The rise in sedentary behaviors, unhealthy food choices, and marketing targeted at children have contributed to the escalating rates of childhood obesity. The consequences, both physical and psychological, are profound and long-lasting. However, through education, awareness, and collaborative efforts, we can curb this epidemic and ensure a healthier future for our children and teens. Let us join forces to combat childhood obesity, one child at a time, and empower them to lead lives filled with vitality and well-being.

Obesity Defined

Generally speaking, a child is not considered obese or severely overweight until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for the height and body type.  Obesity most commonly begins in childhood between the ages of 5 and 6, and during adolescence.  Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult. 2
Obesity is a significant health concern that affects countless children worldwide. The global rise in child obesity rates has led to a greater understanding of the complexities surrounding this condition. Child obesity is characterized by the abnormal or excessive accumulation of body fat, presenting numerous risks to a child’s physical and mental well-being. The adverse effects of child obesity include an increased likelihood of developing chronic diseases. Furthermore, a child’s obesity can have a profound impact on one’s quality of life, leading to decreased mobility, reduced self-esteem, and increased vulnerability to mental health issues. Tackling obesity requires comprehensive approaches that addresses a child’s diet, physical activity, and the societal factors that contribute to its prevalence. By raising awareness, promoting healthy lifestyles, and fostering supportive environments, we can combat obesity and work towards a healthier future for all obese children and teens in their adolescence.

Causes of Obesity and Being Overweight

The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors.  Basically, a child can become obese and overweight when he or she consumes more calories than the body burns up.  If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese.  However, when both parents are obese, the children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.  Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity in children, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems. Issues with obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:
  • poor eating habits
  • overeating or binging
  • lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
  • family history of obesity
  • medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
  • medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
  • family and peer problems 
  • low self-esteem
  • depression or other emotional problems3
Unquestionably, food plays a big role in how childhood overweight we become. We all know that fast food chains, while typically an unhealthy choice to begin with, and even many restaurants have increased their portion sizes in recent years. Almost everything on their menus is accompanied with large or supersize fries and sodas and plate sizes have become enormous – all under the premise that they are providing the customer with more “value” for their money. This value translates into obesity and over eating so don’t let it fool you. If you are dining out, opt to share a meal or make healthier food choices such as picking a salad (minus the dressing) instead of fries, and bottled water instead of a calorie-packed soda or milkshake. A child’s not going to refuse those greasy and yummy french fries.
A child’s obesity is a significant concern that demands our immediate attention and action. Not taking action could greatly affect our children. The escalating prevalence of obesity among children is deeply troubling, underscoring the need to prioritize a child’s health and well-being. It is incumbent upon parents and caregivers to be vigilant in ensuring the provision of a wholesome and well-rounded diet, nurturing regular physical activity, and cultivating positive habits within a child’s daily routine. By creating a supportive and encouraging environment for our children, parents can play an indispensable role in safeguarding their child’s present and future health. Furthermore, healthcare professionals and educators should collaborate to offer comprehensive guidance and resources tailored to addressing the multifaceted aspects influencing a child’s weight. By equipping families and their children with the necessary tools and knowledge, we can effectively confront the complex challenges surrounding childhood obesity and promote a brighter trajectory for a child’s overall well-being.

Why Parents Need to be Concerned Regarding Health
There are many risks and complications with obesity.  Physical consequences can include:

  • increased risk of heart disease
  • high blood pressure 
  • diabetes
  • breathing problems
  • trouble sleeping
Childhood obesity is also associated with increased risk of emotional problems.  Teens with weight problems tend to have much lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers.  They can also be subject to teasing and bullying on the playground. Depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder can also occur. Childhood obesity affecting our children is not talked about enough in the media, at home, or at school. Childhood obesity affects a large percentile of our children, including teens of all ages. There are numerous reports, clinical trials and research that are free and accessible for anyone to read despite their age. A child’s going to have access to all things media and unhealthy food choices. Parents must focus on monitoring how much screen time they get can also assist with lack of physical activity.


Adolescent obesity is affecting our children, they are confronted with a critical and urgent health challenge, being grossly overweight. Being overweight gravely endangers their well-being and future. Childhood obesity is an alarming and pervasive concern among children, places them at substantial risk, compromising their physical and psychological well-being. The detrimental consequences of childhood obesity including heightened vulnerability to chronic diseases and detrimental effects on self-esteem, intensify the pressing need to tackle this issue head-on. By implementing a multitude of effective prevention strategies, actively promoting and nurturing healthy lifestyles, and cultivating supportive environments, we can collectively combat the widespread and persistent scourge of childhood obesity in our children thereby securing a brighter and healthier future for our precious children. We want to try to avoid surgery if at all possible. Our children regardless of age must stay active and include physical exercise often. More research and collecting more data can help us understand world wide how obesity affects eating habits and helps us focus on the task at hand; fighting obesity in children.

Boston Children’s Hospital, Healthcare Provider & Clinic

Boston Children’s Hospital excels in providing comprehensive good care for child obesity for our young children. Their team of experts collaborates to offer specialized, personalized treatment that addresses both the physical and emotional aspects of the condition. With innovative programs, nutritional counseling, and ongoing support, they strive to help children overcome obesity and live healthier lives after receiving treatment from care. Parent’s are encouraged to seek the professional advice of a healthcare provider if they believe their child to be obese or their bmi is is affecting their health for their age.

Beating The Bulge

Before forming a plan of action to conquer obesity, parents of obese children need to ensure their child has a thorough medical evaluation by a pediatrician or family physician to consider the possibility of a physical disorder. If there isn’t a physical ailment, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase your child’s level of physical activity. Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation and tremendous parental support and encouragement. There’s also supplements such as Biofit that can aid in weight loss. Just remember to do some research first, like reading Biofit reviews online to know if this is suitable for you.
  1. American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, (notes1, 2 and 3)
  2. American Obesity Association,


Karen Sibal is a freelance writer, researcher and communications consultant. She is the owner of Sibal Writing and Consulting, a firm that specializes in public policy research, effective communications and web solutions for all types of organizations. Over the past 16 years, Karen has done work for local and provincial governments and several not-for-profit organizations. She is pursuing a Master’s degree in Public Policy and Administration in September 2006.
Karen has written extensively on children’s issues and has helped with launching an association for mothers and children in her community. She is a member of the Halton-Peel Communications Association and a board director with the Halton Multicultural Council. She has also served as the managing editor of a government child welfare journal.
Karen lives with her husband and two girls, ages 3 and 9 years, in Oakville, Ontario Canada. For more information about Karen, please visit her web site at or call 416-580-9097.


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