Obesity in Children Causes
Children who regularly consume more calories than they use will gain weight. If this is not
reversed, the child will become obese over time. Consumption of just 100 calories (the
equivalent of 8 ounces of a soft drink) above daily requirements will typically result in a 10-
pound weight gain over one year. Many different factors contribute to this imbalance between
calorie intake and consumption.
· Genetic factors
○ Obesity tends to run in families.
○ A child with an obese parent, brother, or sister is more likely to become obese.
○ Genetics alone does not cause obesity. Obesity will occur only when a child eats
more calories than he or she uses.
· Dietary habits
○ Children's dietary habits have shifted away from healthy foods (such as fruits,
vegetables, and whole grains) to a much greater reliance on fast food, processed
snack foods, and sugary drinks.
○ These foods tend to be high in fat and/or calories and low in many other nutrients.
○ Patterns associated with obesity are eating when not hungry and eating while
watching TV or doing homework.
· Socioeconomic status
○ Low family incomes and having nonworking parents are associated with greater
calorie intake for activity level.
· Physical inactivity
○ The popularity of television, computers, and video games translates into an
increasingly sedentary (inactive) lifestyle for many children in the United States.
○ Children in the United States spend an average of over three hours per day
watching television. Not only does this use little energy (calories), it also
○ Fewer than half of children in the United States have a parent who engages in
regular physical exercise.
○ Only one third of children in the United States have daily physical education at
○ Parents' busy schedules and fears about safety prevent many children from taking
part in after-school sports programs.
· Certain medical conditions can cause obesity, but these are very rare. They include
hormone or other chemical imbalances and inherited disorders of metabolism.
· Certain medications can cause weight gain by altering how the body processes food or
By Tan Choon Yoke