Health Consequences of Obesity in Children and Adolescents
As discussed in Chapter 1, obesity has become a highly prevalent problem among children and adolescents. This is a major public health crisis, as obesity in childhood and adolescence can have a range of negative health consequences, including heart disease, diabetes, breathing difficulty and orthopedic complications. While the burdens of obesity-related morbidity and mortality may not be fully evident until adulthood, the health burdens of obesity are more often being diagnosed during childhood and adolescence. In this chapter we review the range of health consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity, focusing on the major manifestations.
We begin with a brief review of the health burdens associated with adult obesity and then examine the extent to which overweight children become overweight adults. As will be discussed below, the health burdens of adult obesity are substantial. Therefore, the link between being overweight as a child or adolescent and being obese as an adult is critical. If a large proportion of the children who are currently overweight become obese adults, the public health consequences will be considerable. This link alone should be enough to motivate health care providers and public health officials to undertake the prevention and treatment approaches outlined in subsequent chapters. While the consequences for adults should be sufficient to lead to a focus on childhood obesity, as will be detailed in the remainder of this chapter, we do not have to wait for adulthood to see the toll of childhood and adolescent obesity.
KeywordsObstructive Sleep Apnea Childhood Obesity Adult Obesity Adolescent Obesity Slip Capital Femoral Epiphysis
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