Being overweight as a kid isn’t fun. Enduring teasing and being picked last for sports (or not being able to play at all) are just a few of the emotional difficulties that can accompany childhood obesity. The physical problems can be debilitating as well. According to Kidshealth.org many overweight children are now suffering from what were previously thought to be strictly adult ailments such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Unfortunately, the troubles of childhood obesity are not something that kids can just “grow out of” like the terrible twos or saying ‘baskeddi’ instead of ‘spaghetti’. Being overweight in the younger years can have lasting effects that follow children into adulthood.
Lifelong Physical Effects of Childhood Obesity
Perhaps not too surprising, though important to note, is the fact that obese children are much more likely to become obese adults. Failing to maintain proper weight in childhood The Center for Disease Control says, “obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.” Thus an unhealthy child becomes an unhealthy adult, and maybe parent, who passes on bad habits to the next generation.
Lifelong Psychological Effects
LiveScience.com Managing Editor, Jeanna Bryner wrote that overweight kids are more likely to have low self-esteem and bullying problems (being bullied and bullying other kids) than other children. While no specific studies have shown that the psychological effects of an overweight childhood can carry on into adulthood, it is easy to see that this negative self-image could become a way of life. We begin to form an opinion of ourselves at an early age and that opinion can hold us back in later life. As children enter adulthood, shedding the actual pounds may not be enough to get rid of the emotional weight they’ve gained.
Growing up with a rather large friend, I saw the toll that being overweight can take on a person’s self-esteem. Weight was a constant topic of discussion for my friend and he was always concerned about swimming and other activities that might show his chubby belly. While he did eventually lose the weight, he never seemed to let go of the fat kid mentality. My friend grew up to be an extremely timid person with poor self-esteem; a normal-weight person on the outside and overweight on the inside.