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Consequences of Childhood Obesity
Psychological Health Problems Among Obese Children
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Consequences of Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity Study Aim
The recent epidemic of childhood obesity has raised concern over the possible clinical and public health effects. The aim of the present study was to systematically review and critically appraise the evidence on the consequences of childhood obesity, in 3 areas: health consequences for the obese child; health consequences for adults who were obese as children; social and economic consequences for adults who were obese as children.

Childhood Obesity Study Method
We searched the literature to September 2000, and formally appraised it using published methodology. Studies were rated by two independent reviewers as most or all quality criteria met, low risk of bias (++); some criteria not met, low risk of bias (+); few or no quality criteria met, high risk of bias (-); reject. Studies were excluded if they did not define obesity, or used subjective assessments to define it. In most cases studies included in the review defined obesity as BMI >95th percentile.

Childhood Obesity Study Results
In childhood, a small body of high quality (2+) evidence supports the view that obesity is associated with psychological/psychiatric problems. A large body of high quality evidence found that obesity was associated with the presence and clustering of cardiovascular risk factors in children. A large body of poor quality evidence suggests adverse effects on other systems (e.g. respiratory, hepatic), but this is less well established. Two high quality (2+) studies have shown that adult social and economic outcomes are adversely affected by adolescent obesity. Three high quality (2+) studies have shown that obesity in childhood tends to persist. A large number of high quality (2++ and 2+) studies have shown that adults who were obese in childhood have adverse cardiovascular risk factor profiles, though only 1 high quality study has shown a link between obesity in early adulthood and adult morbidity or premature mortality.

Childhood Obesity Study Conclusion
In conclusion, childhood obesity has a major adverse impact on short and long-term health, and on social and economic success in adult life. Taken together, this evidence makes a compelling case for early prevention of obesity.

Source: Dr John Reilly, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Glasgow, UK

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