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Addressing Poor Habits Early Can Lead
to Children Becoming Healthier Adults
In the last 30 years, obesity rates have
more than doubled in children and tripled in
adolescents in the United States, according to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As of 2010, more than one-third of children
and adolescents were overweight or obese.
Pediatrician Wendy Slusser, MD, cofounder and medical director of the
UCLA Fit for Healthy Weight program — a multidisciplinary approach
to treating overweight children — discusses strategies for preventing
and treating the problem, and when to seek help.
UCLAHEALTH.ORG 1-800-UCLA-MD1 (1-800-825-2631)
A lot has been said about the risks of
obesity in adulthood, but what are the
biggest health concerns for children
Recently, adult diseases have been creeping
down to adolescence, and even pre-
adolescence. Type 2 diabetes in children has
increased with the rise of obesity, and we also
see hypertension and obstructive sleep apnea
that we would normally not have seen at such
young ages. The most common and immediate
effects of obesity during childhood, however,
are musculoskeletal and stomach complaints,
as well as mental-health issues. We see a
lot of overweight children with aches and
pains, which perpetuate the problem because
then the child isn’t active. Gastrointestinal
complaints are a huge factor related to obesity.
And the emotional well-being of children can
affect so much, from their school performance