Obesity in children: causes, methods of therapy and prevention

In recent decades, cases of such pathologies as obesity in children and adolescents are registered more often and, sadly, tend to increase steadily. Statistics show that over the past twenty years the number of children with overweight at the age of 6-11 years has doubled. Even worse indicators among adolescents 12-19 years - cases of obesity recorded three times more.

This trend is most typical for developed countries, in which overeating and inactivity (weakening of muscles due to sedentary lifestyle) have long become the norm of life for most people. According to medical studies conducted in Europe, the number of adolescents with overweight is 25%. The situation in the countries of the post-Soviet space is not much better: in some regions this figure reaches 20%.

Types of pathology

Such concepts at first sight as excess weight and obesity may reflect different states. A slight deviation of weight in the direction of its increase from normal indices for a given age is not a pathology.

Obesity is said in case the weight of the child is more than 15% of the norm, and the body mass index (the body weight in kilograms divided by the height in meters, squared) exceeds the value of 30. This pathology is characterized by excessive accumulation of adipose tissue due to various exogenous (External) and endogenous (internal) causes.

According to the generally accepted classification, two forms of obesity are distinguished.

Primary obesity. The primary form of pathology occurs in the vast majority of children with excessive body weight. Most often, it is caused by certain external factors, which are combined with a genetic predisposition.
Secondary obesity. It is a symptom of other chronic diseases, more often the endocrine system. It occurs in pathologies of the ovaries, the pituitary gland, the adrenal glands, and the thyroid gland.
Boy and girl eating pizza

Causes and predisposing factors

It is important to know that obesity causes several causes at the same time. One of the main reasons is genetic predisposition. The diagnosis of obesity in a mother increases the likelihood of overweight in a child up to 50%.

Alimentary (food) factor - The use of excessive amounts of high-calorie and easily digestible food, provoking the release of insulin and an even greater sense of hunger, overeating;
- overfeeding of a small child in the first years of life, especially with regard to breast milk substitutes and excessive protein intake during the period of complementary feeding
Social factors - Low educational level in the family and, as a consequence, improperly composed ration;
- certain psychological attitudes received from parents, for example, encouraging tasty food or sweets
Hypodinamy - Lack of physical activity, which is especially important for teenagers, spending a lot of time at the computer and other home entertainment;
- No load on muscle tissue, which leads to the accumulation of fats in adipocytes and an increase in the subcutaneous fat layer
Psychoemotional stresses - Prolonged nervous overstrain;
- a strong fright in the child, provoked failure of the central mechanisms of energy balance regulation;
- the beginning of schooling;
- death of a loved one

Excess weight also appears as a result of endocrine and other diseases associated with metabolic disorders. In this case, speech is most often about secondary obesity. Overweight often combines chromosomal abnormalities (Down's disease), congenital hypothyroidism, Itenko-Cushing syndrome.

Remember that parents transmit to the child not only inherited features of metabolism, but also instill nutritional habits. An unfavorable combination of these factors leads to the accumulation of adipose tissue and the development of the disease in crumbs.
Why is it dangerous?

Progressing obesity can lead to a number of serious consequences. The most frequent problem in children with overweight is disruption of the cardiovascular system, insulin production and, as a consequence, the development of diabetes mellitus.

In addition, obesity in children can cause a number of psychological problems, especially in adolescence. Obese children are often the object of ridicule by peers, they are less mobile, suffer from complexes.

Diagnostic Features

Indicators based on measurements are used for diagnosis:

Body weight;
Body mass index (BMI);
Waist circumference;
Circumference of the thighs.
A boy overweight sports


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