The Long Term Effects of Childhood Obesity

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Children can experience numerous complications in relation to their obesity, and it is important to understand these long-term effects on their body. Childhood obesity has been shown to persist into adulthood, causing an increase in morbidity and early mortality for those affected. Illnesses that were historically unheard of in pediatrics are occurring more frequently. Metabolic syndrome was once a predictor of adult cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but has recently been used for pediatrics. Pediatric patients with the diagnosis of metabolic disorder tend to be obese, sedentary, and show signs of insulin resistance and hypertension. Metabolic syndrome is increasing by 16% in children (Malek, 2010, p.1) and is a precursor to type II diabetes. Rates of type II diabetes in children have growth drastically; 85% of children with type II diabetes are overweight or obese (Waldman & Perlman, 2007, p.12). According to Waldman and Perlman (2007), about two thirds of diabetics die from stroke or heart disease (p.12). Obese children are being set up for these serious cardiovascular disorders and the need for treatment with antihypertensives, insulin, and other medication regimens. Diabetics are also at risk for blindness, kidney failure, nervous system damage, and periodontal disease (Waldman & Perlman, 2007, p.12). Waldman and Perlman (2007) also stated that as a child’s weight increases, so does their chance of death, and “over 300,000 deaths per year will be attributed to obesity” (p.13).
New pediatric diagnoses have encouraged more research on the effects of childhood obesity. Kelly and Reilly (2011) explored nine of these studies, with each naming obesity the cause for significant morbidity in adulthood (p. 3). Diabetes, heart disea...

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... reduce obesity-related morbidity. Policy makers and healthcare providers need to be aware of the seriousness of childhood obesity so that favorable changes can be made for reduction of childhood obesity. If they do not fully understand the gravity, then supportive social policies cannot be implemented to support prevention of obesity. Most complications from obesity are chronic, requiring lifelong symptom management. Obesity creates such a poor prognosis for the future generation—it is vital for everyone to recognize and acknowledge this epidemic in order to improve the health of the future population.

Works Cited

Kelly, J., & Reilly, J. J. (2011). Long-term impact of overweight and obesity in childhood and adolescence on morbidity and premature mortality in adulthood: Systematic review. International Journal of Obesity, 35(7), 891-898. doi:10.1038/ijo.2010.222
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