4 Health Risks of Childhood Obesity You Can't Ignore

4 Health Risks of Childhood Obesity You Can’t Ignore

During the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed, accompanied by a whole host of health issues and long term risks. As parents, it can be difficult to encourage our children to lead healthier, more conscientious lives.


Improving your child’s health starts with making practical, small changes in their everyday routine. For this National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, learn more about the long term risks of obesity and protect your child’s health.

Type 2 Diabetes

A few decades ago, type 2 diabetes, in which an individual develops a tolerance to insulin, was essentially unheard of in anyone younger than 30. This is because it typically takes decades to build that tolerance, but now, children and adolescents are being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in astonishing numbers. In the past ten years alone, the percentage of children and adolescents who make up type 2 diabetes diagnoses has risen from 5% to nearly 20%.


The numbers don’t lie, but type 2 diabetes is a completely preventable disease that can be avoided if practical and conscientious changes are made in your child’s routine. Encourage your child to help out in the kitchen so they better understand the value of nutrition. Most importantly, don’t limit food – provide healthier, more nutritionally dense options for snacking and meals. Emphasize to children the importance of physical fitness, not necessarily a number on the scale or how they look in a mirror.

Cardiovascular Disease

In one study, over 70% of overweight and obese children had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease. Some of these include:


  • Impaired glucose tolerance
  • Insulin resistance
  • Impaired breathing and asthma
  • Sleep apnea
  • Joint and musculoskeletal pain


Cardiovascular disease sheds years off of your life. Protect your child’s future health and get them involved with low impact, group sports, which are shown to increase confidence and fitness.


Early Puberty

Not only can leading a sedentary lifestyle affect children’s’ physical fitness, but their emotional well-being and hormonal health. Being significantly overweight has been shown in multiple studies to prompt an early onset of puberty, sometimes in children as young as six or seven.


Going through puberty early may isolate your child from their peers in addition to producing serious long term health risks. Your child may be at risk for certain cancers later in life, including breast, ovarian and testicular cancer.


Mental Health  

Being overweight or obese is often a source of shame for children and adolescents, especially if they’re bullied for their weight. This feeling of isolation from peers can lead to depression, anxiety and even anger.

If you’ve noticed your child struggling with weight, the most important thing to do is to break the cycle of dependence on food. Teach them that food shouldn’t be used as an emotional crutch and show them healthier, alternative coping methods.

It’s also important to remember that changes don’t happen overnight and providing consistent and patient support is the best way to encourage your child. For more information on how weight can affect mental health, visit this page.

If your child is overweight or obese and doesn’t respond to typical treatments, visit your physician to determine if they have a hormonal imbalance or thyroid disorder. For more information on thyroid disorders, visit this page.

During this National Childhood Obesity Month, we encourage members of our community to get off the couch and join their kids in the fight against disease. Let us know how you get active with your children!

Nutex Health, Inc. supports you and your family’s health. Come visit Kyle Emergency Center or any one of our concierge-level freestanding facilities for the emergency care you deserve, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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