Being Overweight as a Child Will Impact Future Health

by Jo-Ann Heslin, MA, RD, CDN on July 11, 2019 · 0 comments

It is estimated that 1 in 6 kids in the US weighs too much but few pediatricians recommend intervention. Sadly, for overweight kids, if the issue is not addressed in childhood their future health is at serious risk and their lifespan may be compromised.

Heart disease – A person’s current weight is a strong predictor of having a heart attack, but your risk of heart failure is more strongly associated with your weight over the last 30 years. The weight you carry in childhood and adolescence is the strongest predictor of heart failure in middle age.

Bone health – A lean, muscular body builds trabecular bone density, volume, and integrity. This type of bone, the inner layer, provides support and is flexible. Cortical bone is the outer layer and it should be dense and compact. Fat causes the cortical bone to become more porous. Fat secretes substances that promote chronic inflammation which in turn stimulates the formation of osteoclasts which are the cells that resorb or breaks down bone. In addition, vitamin D, needed for proper bone formation is fat soluble and gets trapped in fat cells and is not available for bone growth. Children with a weakened bone structure cannot fix the problem later in life.

Cancer risk – The risk for colorectal, uterine, pancreas and gallbladder cancers in millennials is almost double the rate those baby boomers experienced at the same age. It is predicted that the risk for many cancers will increase and occur earlier as younger overweight people start to reach adulthood.

High blood pressure – A study out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia found that only 23% of kids with high blood pressure were diagnosed and only 10% of kids with symptoms of prehypertension were diagnosed. Children with high blood pressure may show signs of heart disease very early which can compromise their health and shorten their life.

To slow down or begin reversing this trend it is important to start healthy habits early.

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