3 Reasons Childhood Obesity Is More Than A Weight Issue
Childhood obesity is mostly seen as a problem with the number on the scale, but weight issues in children can have many physical and emotional facets. Addressing the underlying issues and the domino-effects related to childhood obesity can help parents focus more on the overall health of their child.
Underlying Medical Issues
As the rate of childhood obesity increases, so does the incidence of childhood diabetes and hypertension. In some cases, these issues might be overlooked in children and could delay a proper diagnosis and treatment, which means more years with a disease that could cause significant long-term damage. Additionally, your child's doctor might be concerned about other health issues, such as thyroid function, if your child seems to gain weight rapidly. Since many treatments designed for obesity-related issues in adults are not always appropriate in children, it can be harder to treat chronic diseases.
Childhood obesity may increase your child's incidence of developing depression, especially if they feel insecure about their weight or face bullying. Unfortunately, depression can be more of a problem in the formative years when peer groups are more important and bullying can have a more dramatic effect on self-image and self-esteem. Some children may eventually face issues with self-harm behaviors or suicidal ideation because of bullying. Another concern for children who are overweight or obese is they may eventually go on to develop other food issues. These issues might turn into eating disorders, such as food addiction, anorexia, or bulimia. Conversely, some children experience depression first and this battle eventually shows up as significant weight gain.
Some children who struggled with their weight often face tension within their family. Unfortunately, parents might be concerned about their child's weight or overall health, but address the issue in an inappropriate manner. This can lead to a child feeling unloved by their family and they may be ostracized, especially if they are the only child in the family with a weight problem. Being critical of your overweight child, padlocking the refrigerator, or making them feel less worthy than their siblings is a recipe for disaster. Generally, this type of family tension often leads children to steal and hide food, and their weight may rise exponentially. Talking with a professional about different ways to address weight with your child in a constructive manner is the best approach to help your child find the right track without ruining their self-esteem and creating bad family dynamics that may be impossible to resolve.
When your child struggles with their weight, the first person you should speak with is their doctor. Not only can your child's doctor diagnose any underlying medical conditions that might be related to their weight, but they can give you ideas on addressing your concerns constructively. Contact a clinic, like Choice Medical Group, for more help.