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Health Consequences of Childhood Obesity

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Childhood obesity is associated with various health-related consequences. Obese children and adolescents may experience immediate health consequences and may be at risk for weight-related health problems in adulthood.

Psychosocial Risks

Obese children and adolescents have a greater risk of social and psychological problems, such as discrimination and poor self-esteem, which can continue into adulthood.

Cardiovascular Disease Risks

Obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which are risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD). In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one CVD risk factor, and 39% had two or more.

Other Health Risks

Less common health conditions associated with increased weight include:
  • Breathing problems, such as sleep apnea and asthma


  • Fatty liver disease, gallstones and gastro-esophageal reflux (i.e., heartburn)


  • Joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort


  • Increased risk of impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes — Testing to detect type 2 diabetes and prediabetes should be considered in children and adolescents who are overweight and who have two or more additional risk factors for diabetes, according to American Diabetes Association guidelines.

Last updated February 25, 2014




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