Obesity in children or childhood obesity is becoming a threatening trend across the United States. According to data from the CDC, obesity among children is at an all-time high.
Prevalence of childhood obesity in the U.S.
According to CDC estimates, 18.5% or around 13.7 million aged between 2 and 19 in the U.S. are obese. In children aged between two and five, obesity prevalence is 13.9%.
Obesity is known to lead to many health complications, including heart-related diseases. However, there is another threatening trend in obese children. Research shows that obesity tends to alter the timing of puberty among young girls.
Childhood obesity is a complex health condition and occurs when the child is above their normal age. The causes of obesity among children are similar to the causes of obesity among adults.
Obesity is largely a lifestyle disease
Obesity is a lifestyle condition caused by habits life irregular sleep patterns, certain medications, low-nutrient foods and beverages, and eating high calories. Other activities that may make one obese include spending a lot of time in one place, like watching television and lacking enough physical exercises.
A study done by researchers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences found that there were high levels of testosterone in young overweight girls. This caused excess body hair, irregular periods, and acne. Researchers also found that obese girls showed variations in breast growth and secretion of reproductive hormones.
Previous studies have confirmed that overweight and obese girls experience their menstruation and puberty much earlier than girls with normal weights. In addition to changing the girl’s puberty timing, obesity can also change the level of productive hormones. This affects the growth of reproductive organs like the uterus, ovaries, and breasts.
In a statement, study author Dr. Natalie Shaw said, “We found that in mid- to late puberty, girls with greater total body fat demonstrated higher levels of some reproductive hormones including follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), inhibin B and male-like hormones such as testosterone.”
To prevent obesity among children, it is advisable to maintain a physically active lifestyle and manageable weight. They should eat food with fewer calories, balancing what is consumed in foods and drinks with what the body requires.