Childhood Obesity: An overview in Brazil

Tempo de Leitura: 2 minutos

According to the World Federation of Obesity, it is estimated that in the year 2025 about 206 million children and adolescents live in a state of obesity all over the world. This data requires attention, since it shows how the eating habits built in childhood interfere in the development of obesity and in an eating behavior that will have consequences for life. Thus, we have elaborated here a overview of childhood obesity.

Prevalence of Obesity

Brazil is the sixth country with the largest obese youth population in the world. The prevalence of such a disease exceeds 30% in both boys and girls. As we know, the development of obesity involves biosocioecological, genetic and epigenetic factors which hinders the management and treatment of the disease. In addition, the modern environment that presents more and more ” obesogenic” potential and the low level of physical activity contribute significantly to this.

In addition, the wide supply of foods with low nutritional quality associated with exacerbated screen time and low social interaction they encourage the number of children with obesity to increase. In this context, sIt is abab that from the age of six, the level of physical activity drops and sedentary behaviors appear in the daily life of the child, being possible to observe also a poor quality of sleep and greater exposure to artificial light, especially of smartphones, which is directly associated with the pathogenesis of obesity.

Complications Associated with Childhood Obesity

Obesity causes problems in all tissues of the body in the course of life. When presented in children, this pathology interferes early in the functioning of the respiratory system, causing the development of sleep apnea and asthma. In addition, related diseases such as polycystic ovary syndrome, type II diabetes, hypertension, endothelial dysfunction, musculoskeletal problems related to posture can arise already in the first years of life.

Assertive Clinical Evaluation in Childhood Obesity

Several factors must be taken into consideration to evaluate these patients in order to track the causes that are linked to the development of obesity. We list some primordial items that should be included in the clinical evaluation, such as:

General History: Issues such as the presence or absence of obesity and diabetes during pregnancy, in addition to the type of delivery, are fundamental for understanding the clinical picture of the child.

Family History: It is important to evaluate the presence of obesity in other family members, as well as other chronic diseases such as hypertension, dyslipidemia and type II diabetes.

Behavioral Factors: Understanding the routine and eating habits not only of the child, but also of the family is indispensable to elaborate truly transformative behaviors. Thus, habits such as accompanied lunch, consumption of sugary drinks and snacks between meals, in addition to tracking sedentary behaviors and night routine.

Clinical practice

Thus, the panorama of childhood obesity is unfavorable and proves to be a challenge to be faced by health professionals together with the whole society. In this sense, in addition to traditional strategies for weight control and reduction through dietary interventions and sedentary habits, new approaches that include issues adjacent to obesity should be adopted so that treatment is more effective. In a practical way, the clinical evaluation and application of a detailed anamnesis is fundamental for the success in the treatment to be achieved.

Bibliographic references

Article: Obesity in children and adolescents:

Jebeile H, Kelly AS, O’Malley G, Baur LA. Obesity in children and adolescents: epidemiology, causes, assessment, and management. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol. 2022;10(5):351-365. doi:10.1016/S2213-8587(22)00047-X

Read more about the topic on the Science Play portal:
Eating Behavior in Childhood and Obesity in Adolescents

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