Nature deficiency disorder|Early childhood Obesity

Early childhoold Obesity


Child obesity is a serious health problem that has had a long lasting and adverse consequences on families, individuals and communities. Child obesity is a health disorder which occurs when the body mass index of a human being is a BMI of 30%. The Body Mass Index (BMI) of a person is obtained through a calculation of a person’s height and weight. Being obese is considered to be extremely overweight whereby an overweight person has a BMI of ranging above 25% and below 29%. Obesity incorporates other elements such as the body muscles, excess fat and bone mass which contributes to excess weight in a person (Wanget, 2008). Obesity has dire effects on an individual’s body functions hence being considered a health disorder.

Efforts to reduce obesity have focused on school aged children, with little attention being paid on children under the age of 5.  However, there has been a growing awareness whose efforts aim at preventing child obesity. The first years of life are essential and important to well-being and health of throughout the life span of an individual. Prevention of obesity in young children and infants holds a promise for allowing significant giants towards reducing obesity in childhood and later in adulthood.

Causes of obesity among children

Environmental factors have been found to profoundly affect the development of children in the first years of their life, when patterns of physical activity, eating and sleep are developing, which continue to influence health, obesity and wellbeing for the rest of their life. Given the growing relevance of health in the early years of children there is need to prevent and reduce childhood obesity.

Children become obese due to a number of reasons as stated above, placing them at a danger of developing diseases such as diabetes and heart disease later in life. There is a strong evidence that food is associated with obesity in children. The problem has become more frequent in the society today due to the consumption of fast food and calories by children. Obesity is caused by the consumption of many calories that are contained in foods. The calories cause obesity when the body cannot burn them out through daily exercise and activities thus contributing to weight gain. The calories are in form of fats that are found in foods and also oils that are used in food preparation (Wright & Aronne, 2012). An increase in carbohydrates causes weight gain because the carbohydrates have sugars. Overeating and frequency of eating contribute to obesity as the body is unable to stabilize insulin levels.

A child’s total diet and activity habits play a significant role in determining the weight of a child. A sedentary lifestyle which has been evident in children that entails a person spending a lot of time seated limits physical activities leading to obesity. Lack or limited movement in a person decrease the burning of calories and increases their accumulation. Accumulation of calories contributes to weight gain and obesity. Sedentary lifestyle limits physical activity hence causing unstable insulin levels that are associated with weight gain. For example, the average amount of time a child spends each day impacts the levels of physical activity. Television viewing evident in many children has increased drastically impacting the amount of time spent in physical activities.

Genetics entails the heredity biological process where traits are passed from parents to their children. A child born of a parent with obese genes is likely to become obese. Obese genes affect various hormones that are necessary for fat regulation. For example, genes cause leptin defiance which is a hormone produced by fat cells. The leptin hormone controls weight through directing signals to the brain to consume less food in instances when fats stores are high. Hinderance of leptin production by genes inhibit the instructing ability of the brain to stop food consumption. Lack of enough sleep causes obesity by increasing appetite hence high food consumption levels (Ogden & Flanagon, 2008).

Risks of obesity

Child obesity leads to life threating conditions such as stroke and heart diseases. Childhood obesity leads to chronic diseases such as heart diseases likely to be experienced because excess weight contributes to high blood pressure and accumulation of cholesterol around the heart. Obese people are at a high risk of suffering from type 2 diabetes whereby the body becomes insulin resistance hence more sugars accumulate in the body (Pi-Sunyer, 2009). Obesity leads to cases of colon, kidney, esophagus, endometrium and breast cancer. Cancer develops due to the release of different chemicals by fat cells into other nearby cells making them cancerous.

Gallbladder disease is likely to affect obese people as the gallbladder produces bile in response to fat with an aim of breaking the fats down.

Excess fats in the body entail that the gallbladder has to produce a lot of bile to break down the fat which may lead to malfunctioning of the organ hence the prevalence of different gallbladder diseases. Osteoarthritis affects obese people whereby the knee, back or hip joints are subjected to pressure due to the extra pounds added due to obesity. The pressure causes wearing out of the cartilages that act as cushioning cells of the joint (Bray, 2003). Obese people are subject to risks of suffering from gout which affects major joints in the body and is as a result of excess uric acid in the blood. 

Advocacy to reverse childhood obesity

Child obesity is a disorder that can be treated and also controlled with the main objectives being to achieve and maintain a healthy weight. Child obesity treatments encourage children suffering from the condition to lose weight in order to resume normal body functioning and reduce risks related to obesity. (Thompson et al, 2007).

Population based actions

These are the primary prevention approaches that emphasizes on efforts that can help a majority of children that are at a health state to maintain and prevent risks of obesity. The main treatment or control measure for obesity is healthy eating. Healthy eating entails a child eating a balanced diet that has low fats to reduce calories and low carbohydrates to reduce sugars. Carrying out exercises and playing regularly is are effective measures to eliminate obesity as it helps in the burning out of calories by converting them into energy. The exercises include regular walks or different sporting activities like swimming and jogging. Also, children should avoid overeating and should consume proportional food amounts. Obese people should take prescribed medication for losing weight in extreme cases where the weight is affecting one’s health and other methods of losing weight have failed.

Mealtime interactions

Most of the children between the age of 0-5 are preschoolers who do not have a definite mealtime plan. Preschoolers are children who utilize their time between learning, playing and resting. The play activities that children engage in lead to high energy usage subjecting them to hunger. The hunger periods experienced by these children subject them to frequent eating that leads to obesity. Professionals responsible for these children should plan meal schedules constituting different meal time intervals with healthy foods that provide enough energy for playing and growth. The mealtime interactions also should incorporate professionals communicating with the children to ask them various question on the food portions and food type that they are okay with. The questions are relevant because children feel that it’s a must they finish food served to them hence giving them freedom to choose. Adults should avoid controlling habits that indicate amounts that children take hence preventing obesity caused by overeating.

Self service

In kindergarten the teachers should allow the preschoolers to serve themselves. Self service among children is relevant in that the child will be able to self-regulate him or herself hence not taking a lot of food that may lead to obesity. Teachers should only intervene in situations that children serve themselves too little or much food that is above their consumption limits. The self-serve act enables children to serve themselves food enough for their hunger cues. Also, canteens in the institution should sell healthy snacks that have low sugars. Techers should communicate with the children’s parent to create awareness of the children eating habits and identify healthy habits that the both parties can help to instill in the children.

New foods encouragement

Children love eating foods with high sugars levels which in turn contribute to excess weight gain. Teachers should encourage the preschoolers to try eating new foods which are low in sugars and fats. The encouragement from teachers is through real time activities whereby a teacher is advised to try new healthy foods in front of the children. Children have a strong believe in their teachers and hence will be encouraged to try the new foods that are low in fats and sugars. Teachers can also provide the healthy foods to children in various form to encourage the food consumption.

Treatment efforts

Weight loss surgery also known as bariatric surgery is recommended for child patients who are morbidly obese. There are two types of bariatric surgery the malabsorptive procedure where the small intestines are bypassed and the restrictive procedures which encompass of the stomach being made small to host less food (Mechanick et al, 2013). The removal of the sections minimizes the consumption level of food in an obese child hence they only eat a quantifiable amount of food. Less consumption of food decreases calories consumed in a day by the child thus facilitating weight loss. Hormonal combination to form a single molecule is another treatment for obesity in children. The combination decreases body weight and helps in managing glucose in the body. Obesity caused by psychological can be treated through the patient undergoing counseling in order to overcome emotional distress. A child can join the community and social groups where they can engage with other people and they get relieved of the emotional constraints.


Many obese children tend to become obese adults hence it is important to prevent obesity during early childhood. Being one of the greatest health challenges in the 21st century, there is need to understand the causes and risks of obesity in order to effectively implement action plans that will drive changes towards the risk of obesity in the society. As stated above the strategies and policies mention above will enable prevent child obesity epidemic. These include treatment efforts for the obese children, taxation of sugar sweetened beverages, population based actions and restricting marketing to children. 


Bray, G. A. (2003). Risks of obesity. Endocrinology and Metabolism Clinics32(4), 787-804.

Mechanick, J. I., Youdim, A., Jones, D. B., Garvey, W. T., Hurley, D. L., McMahon, M. M., … & Dixon, J. B. (2013). Clinical practice guidelines for the perioperative nutritional, metabolic, and nonsurgical support of the bariatric surgery patient—2013 update: cosponsored by American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, the Obesity Society, and American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery. Obesity21(S1), S1-S27.

Ogden, J., & Flanagan, Z. (2008). Beliefs about the causes and solutions to obesity: a comparison of GPs and lay people. Patient education and counseling71(1), 72-78.

Pi-Sunyer, X. (2009). The medical risks of obesity. Postgraduate medicine121(6), 21-33.

Thompson, W. G., Cook, D. A., Clark, M. M., Bardia, A., & Levine, J. A. (2007, January). Treatment of obesity. In Mayo Clinic Proceedings (Vol. 82, No. 1, pp. 93-102). Elsevier.

Wang, Y., Beydoun, M. A., Liang, L., Caballero, B., & Kumanyika, S. K. (2008). Will all Americans become overweight or obese? Estimating the progression and cost of the US obesity epidemic. Obesity16(10), 2323-2330.

Wright, S. M., & Aronne, L. J. (2012). Causes of obesity. Abdominal Radiology37(5), 730-732.


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