6 Common Health Problems Associated with Pediatric Obesity

Obesity is a significant public health concern that has been steadily increasing in the United States over the past few decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that obesity rates have increased from 15% to 35% of adults since 1980, with even higher numbers among children. Children who are overweight or obese are at risk for developing other chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. Speaking with an obesity specialist helps you understand the health problems ahead and, most importantly, how to reverse the condition. Book an appointment with Seema Chaudhary, MD.

  • Acid Reflux

One common health problem associated with pediatric obesity is acid reflux. When a child is obese, the extra fat around their midsection can put pressure on their stomach, leading to stomach acids flowing back up into their esophagus. It can cause heartburn, chest pain, and other digestive problems.

  • Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea is a condition that causes a person to stop breathing for short periods during sleep. This condition can lead to fatigue and other health problems. Sleep apnea is more common in people who are obese, and it is estimated that 30-50% of children who are obese also have sleep apnea.

  • High Cholesterol

One common health problem often associated with pediatric obesity is high cholesterol. When a child is obese, they are more likely to have high levels of LDL cholesterol (the bad cholesterol) and low HDL cholesterol (the good cholesterol). It can increase the child’s risk for developing heart disease later in life.

  • Hypertension

Hypertension is a condition in which blood pressure is consistently high, and it can cause problems elsewhere in the body since high blood pressure forces blood to flow through narrowed blood vessels. 

Blood vessels located near the heart will be affected most by high blood pressure. If these vessels are narrowed because of high blood pressure, this can risk heart attack or stroke. Hypertension can also affect the nervous system, causing people to have headaches or feel dizzy.

  • Hyperinsulinemia

Hyperinsulinemia is a condition in which too much insulin is in the blood. When a person has hyperinsulinemia, their body cannot use the insulin properly, causing the person to have high blood sugar levels and leading to diabetes. 

Hyperinsulinemia is common in people who are obese, and it is estimated that about 60% of people who are obese also have hyperinsulinemia. These health problems are severe and can risk the child’s health. Parents need to be aware of these risks and take steps to help their children lose weight if they are obese.

  • Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is a condition in which the liver becomes unhealthy because of fat buildup. The liver has an essential job: it cleans up toxins and makes sure that blood carries the correct amount of sugar to the body. Fatty liver disease can cause health problems such as jaundice, fatigue, weight loss, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and itchy skin. About 25% of children who are obese have fatty liver disease.

Many health problems can be associated with pediatric obesity. These problems include acid reflux, hyperinsulinemia, and fatty liver disease. These health problems can be severe and pose a risk to the child’s health. It is crucial for parents to be aware of these risks seek help from obesity medicine specialists.