Childhood Obesity Increases Health Risks Later in Life

The effects of adulthood obesity are common knowledge nowadays, thanks to extensive research on the subject. We now know that obesity is linked to conditions such as heart disease, certain cancers, diabetes and even sleep disturbances. Since the rate of childhood obesity has tripled since the year 1971, more and more is being discovered about the risks associated with this age group, including predispositions to health risks which pop up much later in life.

Researchers at the University of Surrey published a recent study in the journal Obesity Reviews, an analysis of over 300,000 participants over the course of 18 different studies on obesity and health. They discovered that people who were categorized as obese in childhood were much more likely to experience significant health effects decades later, including pre-diabetes, hypertension and symptoms of heart disease.

Measurements, such as the Body Mass Index, circumference of the waist and skin fold thickness, were gathered from the participants in childhood (the average age was 10-years-old) and again around 25 years later. A thickening of the arteries was present in a significant number of participants later in life, a condition that means a higher likelihood of experiencing a cardiovascular event. Rates for pre-diabetes, or a higher-than-normal blood sugar level, were also high, indicating the participants were susceptible to developing full-blown diabetes later on. The childhood BMI measurements were also linked to hypertension in adulthood.

“The adverse effects of adult obesity are well known, but what we have found is that obesity in childhood can cause lasting arterial damage which could potentially lead to life threatening illness,” lead author Dr. Martin Whyte told Science Daily. Childhood obesity rates are on the rise in both the US and the UK, where the study took place. In the US, about one in three children or teenagers are overweight or obese. The risks for these individuals later in life are just now being discovered and calls to action are gaining speed in these studies’ wake.

The reasons why childhood obesity has climbed dramatically over the years are complex and plentiful. Everything from access to food, affordability of food, quality of life, amount of daily movement and an increase in fats and sugars paired with a decrease in nutritious, plant-based foods can contribute to whether or not a child is obese. Now that we have a clearer picture of the health risks associated with it, we must turn our attention to addressing each of these hurdles for families and the children who are likely to suffer negative health effects in adulthood.

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Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

heather g
heather g2 years ago

The on-going curse of fast food....

Teresa W
Teresa W2 years ago

I was obese as a child and I still have problems with my weight.

Camilla V
Camilla Vaga2 years ago


Angela K
Angela K2 years ago


Leanne K
Leanne K2 years ago

Makes sense!

Jonathan Harper
Jonathan Harper2 years ago


Tania N
Tania N2 years ago

Thanks for sharing

Steven W
Steven W2 years ago

Thank you for the information.

Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

From my limited information, it is mainly junk food.