Kids who aren’t picky eaters can be cute. But when at a young age, they already have no self-control, it can lead to childhood obesity. Some parents don’t find their children’s weight issues to be a concern as they often think “they’ll grow out of it” or that “they need the nutrients so they’ll grow up healthy” — but pediatricians see this misconception as worrisome.

The fact that weight loss surgery for kids and medications are options to lose weight is a sign that there might be a flaw in some of American youth’s health and diet — as according to the CDC, 1 in 5 children and pre-teens in the USA suffers from obesity; that’s more than 14 million of our young ones!

How concerning is childhood obesity?

Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) chart, a child with a Body Mass Index or BMI that’s above 95% is considered obese; but the age, height, and gender of the kid should also be factored in. If a child falls somewhere near or more than that percentage, they are at risk for several health problems — and doctors believe that it’s imperative that a child loses weight as soon as they’re able to (but only if they’re overweight or obese!).

Children and adolescents who suffer from obesity are at risk for the following conditions:

  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease/s
  • Sleep apnea
  • Asthma
  • Fatty liver

Note: Kids who have obesity tend to also have self-esteem issues and they’re more prone to bullying — these can cause self-isolation, depression, or suicidal ideations. If you suspect your child is suffering from mental health problems, have them looked at by a physician.

Why are some kids heavier than the others?

It’s a known fact that excessive calorie consumption is one of the main causes of obesity in people — and children can sometimes pick up on their parents’ diet. While this cause is easier to find a solution to (a change in both the caretaker and kid’s lifestyle is needed), other causes for obesity boil down to genetics and illnesses.

Statistically, some ethnicities and different socioeconomic backgrounds are more prone to childhood obesity than others. For instance, 26% of Hispanic kids can be affected by childhood obesity, 24% of African-American children are also prone to obesity, and 16% of Caucasian kids may also deal with this health concern.

Families with little access to healthier food options resort to what’s available and affordable to them. They may also lack the education and proper guidance in choosing which types of food to purchase for them and their children. As such, the kids find this diet to be the norm. They may also find exercise to be a luxury — as labor is the most prioritized activity and it leaves almost no room for recreational activities and hobbies.

Can weight loss surgery for kids help children and teens?

“Weight loss” should always be on the table if a person (regardless of age) is obese. Since pediatricians wish for kids to lose weight as soon as they can, weight loss (bariatric) surgery and medications are now available to perform on children. In the United States, the most common procedure is gastric bypass and gastric sleeve surgeries and many kids (and adults) found the procedure to be successful and it helped improve the quality of their lives. 

However, weight loss surgery for kids is not without its list of side effects — but keep in mind that most invasive procedures may possibly have negative consequences. That’s why it’s vital to seek an esteemed physician. You must also let them know about your worries so they can guide you through the process.

In Summary

Childhood obesity is an epidemic that not many people or every parent are concerned about because their offspring are still “children” and they have enough time to lose their “baby fat.” But obesity in children is a growing concern that can leave a child at risk for countless possible life-threatening and chronic diseases and low self-esteem. Now that the American Association of Pediatrics allows weight loss surgery for kids, it’s time that we thoroughly assess the American (and worldwide) youth’s health. Let’s start educating them about what’s healthy to eat and do and what isn’t. As parents, let’s book them a trustworthy pediatrician.

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