Updated: Sep 23, 2020
An increasingly topical problem which, however, does not receive the right attention. Usually the skinny child, very active and not particularly interested in food, worries the parents who think they are not getting enough food. On the contrary, a child with a few extra pounds who prefers the sofa to the ball is almost considered the norm. To maintain a healthy weight, a balance is needed between calorie intake and consumption, any excess is stored in the form of fat and in the long term can lead to overweight or even obesity. Childhood obesity is a multifactorial condition, therefore it has various causes including: diet, lifestyle, environmental and genetic conditions and medical treatment. But be careful not to hide behind the typical "I'm not fat, I have big bones"! Although there are genetic and medical causes responsible for obesity (first of all the use of steroid drugs, Prader Willi's syndrome and Cushing's syndrome), they are very rare and in any case controllable with an adequate diet and lifestyle. Speaking of children, composition and family habits certainly play a fundamental role. It has now been proven that obese parents are more likely to raise an overweight child and, again, genetics could be blamed but the truth is that they are teaching the same incorrect lifestyle that led them personally to obesity. In fact, we live in a society that limits physical activity more and more and promotes wrong eating habits. There are more and more fast food and video games and fewer and fewer children playing outdoors. An overweight child will also tend to be overweight in adulthood and this puts them at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, stroke, sleep apnea and skeletal malformations. Not only that, discrimination and bullying can have devastating consequences on a child's mental health, increasing the risk of depression, shame, social anxiety and poor academic performance. We therefore teach our children, from an early age, a healthy diet and an active lifestyle as childhood obesity is related to serious physical and mental health problems.