Obesity, Related Conditions On the Rise in Children

By 2025, 268 million children worldwide may be overweight.

The amount of American children who are overweight or obese is on the rise, and so are associated health conditions, a recent study found.

Obesity can cause numerous, chronic conditions, including diabetes and heart disease. These conditions can be extremely costly to both the patient and the healthcare system.

Patients with these obesity-related conditions may require expensive medications, inpatient stays, procedures, and monitoring by a physician. Numerous cancers, such as cancers of the breast, esophageal, pancreatic, colorectal, renal, endometrial, ovarian, and gallbladder, are all linked to high body mass index in adults.

These cancers all require costly treatments, and could be deadly. Findings from a recent study suggest that every 10-years of overweight and intensity of overweight cause also increase cancer risk.

However, adults are not the only people who can become overweight. Children can become overweight or obese through a lack of exercise, poor nutrition habits, and genetic predisposition.

By the year 2025, researchers in the current study have estimated that 268 million children (5- to 17-years-old) from around the world may be overweight, which includes 91 million children with obesity. These figures assume that no interventions have been successful in decreasing the prevalence of overweight children.

They have also found that obesity-associated conditions will also be on the rise. By 2025, the researchers estimate that up to 12 million children will have altered glucose tolerance, and 4 million children will have type 2 diabetes.

Approximately 27 million will have hypertension, and 38 million will have hepatic steatosis by 2025, according to the study. These conditions require treatment, and can be life-long diseases.

Hospital admissions and healthcare costs are also significantly increased among respiratory disorders, or in diseases of the ear, nose, mouth, or throat. This can cause a significant financial burden on the healthcare system, and on the child’s parents.

Expansive health problems at an early stage of life will also likely take a toll on the child, so prevention is an important factor. Proper and healthy eating habits should be formed early, as well as involvement in physical activities to prevent the onset of obesity in children.

“These forecasts should sound an alarm bell for health service managers and health professionals, who will have to deal with this rising tide of ill health following the obesity epidemic,” said co-author of the study Tim Lobstein. “In a sense, we hope these forecasts are wrong: they assume current trends continue, but we are urging governments to take strong measures to reduce childhood obesity and meet their agreed target of getting the levels of childhood obesity down to 2010 levels before we get to 2025.”