The incidence of severe obesity in childhood is increasing alarmingly and childhood obesity has literally reached critical mass. Severe obesity often goes unrecognized until significant comorbidities such as type 2 diabetes mellitus and steatohepatitis — once considered “adult diseases” — develop. Paediatric comorbidities of obesity are more common than thought.
Many consider this as a multifactorial (genetics, neuro behavioral, endocrine, environmental and immune mediated) “disease” .The health burden of childhood and adolescent obesity may include increased risks for asthma, high blood pressure, sleep apnea, or psychosocial stresses.80% of obese adolescents and 64% of obese preadolescents continue to be obese in adulthood, with serious complications including diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, prospective studies suggest that weight loss can reverse harmful cardiovascular effects of child and adolescent obesity.
Also fortunately, new studies reveal underlying causes and contributors to this burgeoning epidemic as well as possible options to reversing this frightening trend. Physicians should be talking with parents — many of whom do not realize when a child is obese — and offering comprehensive, intensive interventions and structured management.
Every child is unique and thus it’s utmost important that the most appropriate clinician, for example someone trained in Pediatric Endocrinology, evaluates, assesses, investigates and puts tailored to fit management strategies in place to improve the health of the individual.
By Dr. Kowshik Gupta
Consultant Pediatrician , Endocrinologist ( Motorcity Branch)