Being overweight or obese in childhood has consequences for health in both the short and the longer term. The emotional and psychological effects of being overweight are often seen as the most immediate and most serious by children themselves. They include teasing and discrimination by peers; low self-esteem; anxiety and depression. Obese children may also suffer disturbed sleep and fatigue.
Overweight and obese children are more likely to become obese adults, and have a higher risk of morbidity, disability and premature mortality in adulthood. Although many of the most serious consequences may not become apparent until adulthood, the effects of obesity can be identified in obese children and adolescents.
Other health problems can include hypertension, insulin resistance, early puberty, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, skin infections, asthma and other respiratory problems. Type 2 Diabetes, previously considered an adult disease, has increased dramatically in overweight children.
Once established, obesity is notoriously difficult to treat, so prevention and early intervention are very important.
If you would like more information about how to support your child to maintain a healthy weight please contact your school nurse team.