Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as overweight, which means a child’s weight is in the upper range of children of the same age and height. Overweight may be due to extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as too much fat. Both terms mean that a child’s weight is higher than what is thought to be healthy.
What are the causes for the obesity in children:
1. Consuming too many calories
When a person consumes more calories than they use as energy, their body will store the extra calories as fat. This can lead to excess weight gain.
Foods that tend to increase the risk of weight gain include:
- fast foods
- fried foods, such as french fries
- fatty and processed meats
- many dairy products
- foods with added sugar, such as baked goods, cookies etc.
2. Leading a sedentary lifestyle
Regular physical activity can help prevent obesity. Many people lead a much more sedentary lifestyle than their parents and grandparents did.
Examples of sedentary habits include:
- working in an office rather than doing manual labour.
- playing games on a computer instead of doing physical activities outside.
- going to places by car instead of walking or cycling.
The less a person moves around, the fewer calories they burn.
3. Medications and weight gain
Some medications can also lead to weight gain
- atypical antipsychotics, especially olanzapine, quetiapine, and risperidone
- anticonvulsants and mood stabilizers, and specifically gabapentin
- hypoglycaemic medications, such as tolbutamide
- glucocorticoids used to treat rheumatoid arthritis
- some antidepressants
For some people, emotions influence eating habits. Many people eat excessively in response to emotions such as boredom, sadness, stress, or anger. While most overweight people have no more psychological disturbances than normal weight people, about 30% of the people who seek treatment for serious weight problems have difficulties with binge eating.