Childhood obesity is proving to be a bigger problem than it has previously been recognized as being. Mayo Clinic writes that childhood obesity is of particular concern because the extra pounds often put children on the path to health problems which were once considered primarily adult illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. Furthermore, childhood obesity can lead to poor self-esteem and depression. In a news release on Jan. 14, 2013, the UCLA Health System has reported, Childhood obesity linked to more immediate health problems than previously thought.
A new UCLA study has focused on the immediate consequences of childhood obesity and has shown that obese kids are at far greater risk than was previously supposed. The UCLA researchers found in comparison to kids who are not overweight, obese children have been found to be at nearly twice the risk of having three or more reported medical, mental or developmental conditions, Lead author, Dr. Neal Halfon, has said, "This study paints a comprehensive picture of childhood obesity, and we were surprised to see just how many conditions were associated with childhood obesity. The findings should serve as a wake-up call to physicians, parents and teachers, who should be better informed of the risk for other health conditions associated with childhood obesity so that they can target interventions that can result in better health outcomes."
The researchers found that overall obese children were more likely than those who were classified as not overweight to have reported "poorer health, more disability, a greater tendency toward emotional and behavioral problems, higher rates of grade repetition, missed school days and other school problems, ADHD, conduct disorder, depression, learning disabilities, developmental delays, bone, joint and muscle problems, asthma, allergies, headaches, and ear infections." This study has been published online in the journal Academic Pediatrics, Associations Between Obesity and Comorbid Mental Health, Developmental, and Physical Health Conditions in a Nationally Representative Sample of US Children Aged 10 to 17.