Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. Seema Sharma, MD offers help for childhood obesity for patients in the west side of Las Vegas, Nevada and surrounding areas at VIPediatrics of Las Vegas.

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What is childhood obesity?

Children who are considered obese supersede what is considered the normal weight for their age and height. This excessive weight often starts the child on a path to extreme health problems that are usually to be reserved for adults such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Many obese remain obese into adulthood, especially if one or both parents are obese. Childhood obesity can lead to poor self-esteem and depression.

What are the symptoms of childhood obesity?

Not all children carrying extra pounds are considered to be overweight or obese. If you are concerned your child might be obese it is best to get a proper examination from a professional trained in pediatrics. Your child’s doctor will use growth charts, BMI index, and other tests that can help figure out if your child’s weight could pose health problems. The BMI, or body mass index, provides a guideline of weight in relation to height and is the accepted measure of overweight and obesity. This can help determine if your child’s weight is in an unhealthy range.

What are the causes that lead to childhood obesity?

One of the main causes of childhood obesity are lifestyle issues. Lack of physical activity and too many calories combined together contribute to childhood obesity. Genetic and hormonal factors can also play a role.
Many factors can increase your child’s risk of becoming overweight. These include:

• Diet – Regularly consumption of high-calorie foods can cause your child to gain excess weight. More evidence is showing that sugary drinks, including fruit juices, as culprits in obesity.
• Lack of exercise – Children who are mostly sedentary and don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight.
• Genetic factors – If obesity runs in the family your child may be more likely to put on weight.
• Psychological factors – Personal, parental, and family stress can increase a child’s risk of obesity.

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