Child obesity and health

Y. Wang

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Scopus citations


This article first reviews classifications of childhood obesity and the worldwide childhood obesity epidemic and then summarizes the risk factors and health consequences of childhood obesity. The obesity epidemic has become a serious public health problem in many countries worldwide. Recent studies indicate that approximately 20% of school-age children in the European countries are overweight or obese, and 5% are obese. In North America, the figures are 30% and 15%, respectively. Nationally representative data are still limited in most developing countries, but available data indicate a steady increase in the prevalence over the past 1 to 2 decades. In these countries, the prevalence in some population groups, such as urban and high-income groups, already reaches a level similar to that in industrialized countries. Obese children are likely to remain obese as adults, but the rate differs considerably across studies. Increasing evidence shows that childhood obesity has a long-term effect on mortality and morbidity, including a broad range of conditions, such as cardiovascular risk factors, type 2 diabetes, menstrual abnormalities, and sleep-disordered breathing. Further, childhood obesity has many negative social and psychological consequences on young people affected. The development of effective population-based programs and policies for the prevention and management of obesity in children and adolescents should be a priority in order to combat the growing obesity epidemic in many countries. © 2008

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationInternational Encyclopedia of Public Health
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Print)9780123739605
StatePublished - 2008


  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Health consequence
  • Obesity
  • Overweight
  • Trend

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Dentistry
  • General Medicine


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