Health Consequences of Obesity in Youth: Childhood Predictors of Adult Disease

Pediatrics. 1998;101(Suppl 2):518-525

This article is part of a 1998 supplement to the journal Pediatrics “The Causes and Health Consequences of Obesity in Children and Adolescents.”

Abstract: Obesity now affects one in five children in the United States. Discrimination against overweight children begins early in childhood and become progressively institutionalized. Because obese children ten to be taller than their nonoverweight peers, they are apt to be viewed as more mature. The inappropriate expectations that result may have an adverse effect on their socialization. Many of the cardiovascular consequences that characterize adult-onset obesity are preceded by abnormalities that begin in childhood. Hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and abnormal glucose tolerance occur with increased frequency in obese children and adolescents. The relationship of cardiovascular risk factors to visceral fat independent of total body fat remains unclear. Sleep apnea, pseudo tumor ceresin, and Blount’s disease present major sources of morbidity for which rapid and sustained weight reduction is essential. Although several periods of increased risk appear in childhood, it is not clear whether obesity onset in early childhood carries a greater risk of adult morbidity and mortality.

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