What Are Some Causes of Childhood Obesity?

Childhood obesity may stem from a combination of lifestyle issues and genetic factors, according to Mayo Clinic. Obese children may exercise too little and consume too many calories. Some children, for example, may have conditions that interfere with their body’s ability to regulate food and calorie intake. Environment and socioeconomic status also play a role in childhood obesity, notes the Obesity Action Coalition.

Environment shapes the habits of children, according to the Obesity Action Coalition. For example, many television commercials aimed at children promote unhealthy food and eating habits. In addition, some children live in an environment that does not emphasize physical activity, and lower income children may not be able to afford to participate in extracurricular activities. These kids are also more likely to eat foods that are higher in calories and sugar, because these foods are less expensive and more convenient.

Kids are considered obese when their BMI is at or above the 95th percentile for other children the same sex and age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC. Childhood obesity puts children at risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, breathing problems and psychological problems. Obese children are also more likely to be obese as adults. To prevent this, the CDC recommends limiting media time to no more than two hours per day. Parents can also add more fruits and vegetables to family meals.