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September 10, 2018

Signs Your Child’s Obesity is Doing More Damage than You Think

Joyce Knestrick, PhD, CRNP, FAANP

Most parents know obesity isn’t healthy and can lead to heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure, but many overlook the severity of the more peripheral consequences that come with being overweight as a kid. Here are some of the biggest concerns:

  1. Bullying. Obese kids are four times more likely to be called names, physically victimized and excluded from group activities.
  2. Emotional turmoil. Overweight kids tend to have a harder time fitting in, which can lead to anxiety, low self-esteem and depression. Overweight kids are three times as likely to be depressed adults.
  3. Insomnia. Lack of sleep perpetuates weight gain, and only 20 percent of adolescents get the recommended amount of sleep.
  4. Poor academic performance. Obese kids may have lower test scores, are more likely to be held back a grade and less likely to go on to college.

Obese kids between the ages 10 and 13 are 80 percent more likely to be obese adults, but that’s not the only problem they face. Some things that are hard when you are a kid are even harder for overweight kids, and parents should be on the lookout for signs that their child needs extra help navigating their challenges. NPs have the skills and experience to help parents and kids struggling with obesity.  Consider an NP.