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Childhood obesity: everyone’s problem

8 May 2022

Key points:

  • Childhood overweight and obesity has consequences on the child’s body and mind
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that Mexico ranks first in childhood obesity.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic increased the percentage of overweight or obese children.

The World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that Mexico is considered a malnourished country, ranking first in childhood obesity; additionally, according to the 2020 National Health and Nutrition Survey (Encuesta Nacional de Salud y Nutrición, ENSANUT), 24% and 26% of overweight children are under 8 and 9 years old, respectively.

Dr. Carlos Alberto Antillón Ferreira, a pediatric endocrinologist at ABC Medical Center, comments that the latest ENSANUT survey reported that practically 1 in 3 people of school age have some overweight or obesity problem.

It increased considerably during the current COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of mobility of children in quarantine, as well as a greater consumption of unhealthy food.

Together with overweight and obesity, the risk of children having health problems such as high blood pressure, altered lipid metabolism, cardiovascular diseases, fatty liver, glucose intolerance, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes increased, the latter being more frequent in adolescents every day.

In addition, overweight and obesity also cause respiratory problems such as asthma or sleep apnea. Psychologically it could cause depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, and even suffer bullying.

Dr. Antillón recommends treating childhood obesity as a disease in a multidisciplinary way from the beginning with the attention of professionals in each required area, as children must recover their health and prevent future diseases such as metabolic syndrome.

He also says that parents should look at the growth charts according to age and measure the body mass index as a preventive measure (BMI = weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared). “The BMI value varies according to age and gender, it is considered normal if it is below the 85th percentile, when it is between the 85th and 95th percentile, it is an overweight indicator, and if it is above the 95th percentile it is an obesity indicator”.

Finally, the childhood obesity expert recommends that mothers, fathers, and children have a good diet following the “healthy eating plate” which includes the nutrients that the body needs, avoid products labeled with a high caloric index, perform physical activity for at least 45 minutes 5 times a week, and reduce the excessive use of electronic devices.

At ABC Medical Center’s Nutrition & Obesity Center, we can provide you with specialized care. Contact us!

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    Ricardo Ostos

    Ricardo Ostos

    Content Creator

    Ricardo can convey complex medical information in an accessible and friendly way so that all of our patients can understand and benefit from it. In addition, he has an empathetic approach, offering information and practical advice that really makes a difference in people's lives. #lifebringsustogether.

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