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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 192-194

Childhood obesity: Determinants, evaluation, and prevention

1 Institute of Child Health, Kolkata, India
2 K P C Medical College, Kolkata, India

Correspondence Address:
Moutusi Raychaudhuri
104/12, Satyen Ray Road, Kolkata 700 034
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.104037

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Childhood obesity is a grave issue, which needs to be addressed urgently because it leads to several medical and psychosocial problems in children. High prevalence is being increasingly reported in children from developing countries as well. The combination of our genetic propensity to store fat, the ready availability of calorie dense foods, and sedentary lifestyle promotes overweight. The child's food environment at home and parental obesity are strong determinants. Urban poor in developed countries and urban rich in developing countries are both at risk. In developing countries, a number of beliefs passed down over generations are other important determinants. Evaluation includes assessing the child's lifestyle, excluding weight-promoting medication history; poor linear growth needs endocrine evaluation; genetic syndromes should be considered if there are clinical pointers. Overweight children should be evaluated for hypertension, dyslipidemia, T2DM, and NAFLD. Therapeutic lifestyle changes targeting food habits and physical activity through parental participation and social support are the cornerstones of preventing childhood obesity. Active travel and play by making the built environment more accessible, ban on 'junk' food advertising, and effective health education through active participation of clinicians, school systems, and the media will go a long way in reversing anticipated trends in childhood obesity.

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