- Psychological; this may be the biggest effect on the child. Often times, he/she is teased, jeered at or taunted by peers. There is also general discrimination, an exclusion from games etc. leading to low self-esteem, depression, and stress.
- Physical; the child is predisposed to diabetes, High Blood Pressure, cancer, sleep problems, liver disease and early puberty (In this age of child molestation, I bet you don’t want that).
- Long-term effects; an obese child will be an obese adult with a high risk of a heart disease among.
It was my day off from work and I decided to visit the mall with Zainab. I sat quietly waiting for my friend for our 5 pm appointment. Being a stickler for time, I had arrived some 45 minutes earlier. I chose to sit at the food court along the major walkway to have a clearer view of the environment and observe when she walks in. I watched as several families sauntered in and out of the mall. Something profound was staring at my face; out of every 4 children, 2 were clearly overweight. They struggled to move with overstretched shorts and protruding stomachs while clutching cones and bowls of ice-cream. Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child’s health or well-being. One-third of the children in the USA are overweight/obsessed. All over the world, the number of obese children has more than doubled in the past 3 years. Of the 40 million obese children in the world, 81% are from developing nation (WHO data). In Nigeria, there is a paucity of data. However, according to a research by Senbayo I O, out of 270 children surveyed from 216 homes, 13.7% were overweight and 5.2% obese. Several causative factors of childhood obesity have been identified by health experts. Some of these factors include; Lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating pattern, unhealthy diet, genetics, body type, maternal smoking, early introduction to solids, use of infant formula as against exclusive breastfeeding and early day-care attendance. (creche) Suffice it to say that out of these 9 factors listed above, the major culprits are Lack of physical activity, unhealthy diet, and feeding pattern. We do not have control over genetics and body type, however, this should equally be controlled. The economic realities of our age have ushered women more and more in the corporate world hence, for women in the corporate society, exclusive breastfeeding for an upward of 4 months is a difficult feat to achieve. Causing them to opt for creches where infant formula can be dropped off. The effects of childhood obesity are grave hence the need to battle its scourge. Some effects include: