Obesity is Weighing on Kids’ Health

Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fast foods, processed foods and computerized games have contributed to our children consuming too many calories and expending very little energy. It’s become a national crisis.

Obesity can cause many health and social problems beginning in childhood and continuing and intensifying throughout life. It not only contributes to low self-esteem and depression, but also damages the cardiovascular system with premature development of diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. And it gets worse. Recent studies show that damage to the bones and joints of overweight children can lead to arthritis and joint deformities and potentially, a lifetime of limited mobility and diminished life quality.

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The Causes
Childhood obesity is among the most serious health challenges of the 21st century. According to the CDC, the environmental factors that may contribute to excess weight in children and adolescents include:

• Greater availability of less healthy foods and sugary drinks
• The prevalence of advertising of less healthy foods
• Lack of daily, quality physical activity in schools
• No safe and appealing place, in many communities, to play or be active
• Limited access to healthy, affordable foods
• Increasing portion sizes

Childhood Obesity and Musculoskeletal Health
Too much weight can seriously impact the growth and health of bones, joints and muscles. Leg injuries are significantly higher in obese children compared with normal-weight children. Common musculoskeletal injuries in obese children include sprains and broken bones. Other serious musculoskeletal conditions that obese children can develop include:

• Slipped Capital Femoral Epiphysis – a disorder of the adolescent hip that occurs when the ball at the upper end of the femur (thighbone) slips off backwards. It is a painful condition that often requires stabilizing the “slipped” growth plate with a screw.

• Blount’s Disease – a growth disorder that affects the bones of the lower leg, causing them to become deformed and bow outward.

• Flat Feet – collapsing of the arches leads to painful walking, running and jumping.

• Impaired Mobility – obese children may suffer from clumsiness as well as problems with motor coordination, including standing on one foot, writing or even tying shoelaces.

Carrying around too much weight can cause big problems in children. Extra weight adds extra stress to growing bones causing pain and interfering with normal childhood growth and development. To find out more, visit http://bit.ly/1JYlhyw.