The Effects of Childhood Obesity on Learning

There are many things that can create learning problems for children. Learning disabilities, medical disorders and stress can each play a role. So can obesity.

Bullying : There are a lot of things that can make a child a target for bullies. Most of us had a run in with them about something. I wore glasses and was skinny, so I got called four eyes and bean pole. The same is true of the overweight and / or obese child.

This teasing creates either a concentration on rectifying the matter or a resort to comfort foods … or both. It's hard to concentrate on class if the mind is occupied with other activities such as avoiding bullies.

Self-esteem : The overweight child can see it in the mirror. It's obvious when it's time to shop for school clothes. It's whispered on the playground. This inhibits self-esteem. Those with low self-esteem think that they will never be able to do anything right and may feel like "why bother?" when it comes to class.

Afraid to Ask : On top of the first two issues, an overweight child might be afraid to ask questions in class. They don't want to draw more attention to themselves. Without asking questions a vital chance to learn something is missed, and it will show up on test scores.

How can we help ? Schools are now cracking down hard on children who bully. There has been too many kids trying to or achieving suicide. If you see a child being bullied or the victim is your child, talk to the school.

Find something that the child can do well. Get them committed to following through with it. Praise them when the achieve a goal. Correct gently when they need it. Having a talent or skill can help greatly with self-esteem.

Talk to the teachers, especially in classes where grades are low. Work out ways that the child can learn what needs to be learned without drawing attention to that child. This works in other areas as well; I know because one of our children did not want to ask questions in class. The teacher helped me help her.

While we do want our overweight children to achieve the right weight we also need to concentrate on their education. Weight loss isn't a fast thing and the time is ticking in school.

Prevent Childhood Obesity – The Long Term Effects of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is not a reference to the pleasantly plump babies or the cherub shaped toddlers. The majority of children will begin life with the plumpness we expect to see in babies. These children will grow taller and will lose their "baby fat" as they begin to walk, run, and be more active.

Children that are considered to be obese are the ones who have a BMI (Body Mass Index) that is greater than 80% is considered to be obese. This means that a child who weighs more than eighty percent of their peers who are of the same height, age, and gender, is overweight.

A lot of people say that it is okay to be overweight before puberty because as a person reaches puberty they will automatically begin to lose the excess pounds. This does happen to some people, but it is not what happens to all people. A youngster that is considered to be obese is 70% more apt to be obese when they become an adult.

The longterm effects of childhood obesity can be broken down into physical and mental effects. The longterm effects of childhood obesity can physically shorten the life expectancy of the individual, and can reduce the quality of life the individual is expected to have. Mentally the obesity can cause great unhappiness in the individual's life.

Physical Effects caused by Obesity include (but are not limited to):

• Hypertension (high blood pressure)

• Type II Diabetes

• Heart disease such as coronary artery disease

• Gallbladder problems such as gall-stones

• Osteoarthritis (a deterioration of the cartilage and bone that the joints of the body are made of)

• Breast cancer

• Colon cancer

• Kidney cancer

• Liver cancer

• Strokes

• High cholesterol

• Sleep apnea

• Breathing difficulties

• Premature death

• Back pain

• Difficulties in becoming pregnant, problems in menstruation

• Yeast infections

The mental health issues that are caused by excessive amounts of weight include (but are not limited to)


• Anxiety

• Low self-esteem

• Mood disorders and suicidal thoughts

• embarrassment

Being overweight does not just affect a person's physical and mental state, it affects their quality of life. Some of the life altering effects of this condition include (but are not limited to):

• An inability to walk without pain and discomfort. This pain and discomfort may include pain in the joints, the back, or difficulty breathing.

• Difficulty finding clothing to fit

• The inability to sit in some chairs. Most chairs that are in public places are designed to hold someone who weighs 250 lbs or less. An obese person may not be able to fit into the chairs in restaurants and waiting rooms.

• Seatbelts in vehicles may not properly fit around the obese individual

• Obese individuals may have to pay for 2 seats on an airplane or a bus when they travel

• They may have difficulties finding bathroom scales that will weigh them

• They are often lonely because of their lack of self-esteem, and their social embarrassment

All of the longterm effects of excessive weight create an increased amount of medical cost in the United States and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control $ 190.2 billion dollars are spent each year in the United States alone treating obesity related illnesses. That breaks down to being 21% of the money spent each year by the US on medical related issues is money spent because of obesity. The estimates that 14 billion of those dollars are spent treating medical conditions suffered by children who are obese.

The only way for obesity to be stopped is for it to never start. Everyone needs to be concerned about this problem so things will change. Some of the things that could be done to stop this epidemic include (but are not limited to)

• Increased education for parents and guardians

• Changes in foods that are offered at popular restaurants where children frequently eat

• A campaign to promote physical activity for young people and decrease the amount of time they send watching television and playing video games

• Insurance companies that offer reduced rates to families who fit within the proper BMI chart for their ages, genders, and heights

It is going to take a community effort to make the changes necessary to stop this condition from killing so many people prematurely.