Obesity cases are gradually increasing on a global scale. However, the number of cases of child obesity in particular is increasing at an alarming rate. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), 32 percent of Turkish children between the ages of two and 18, are on the verge of being obese.
Despite the fact that obesity is a global health problem, most of the overweight and obese children live in the developing world. A change in eating habits and an inactive lifestyle are seen as the main causes for the boom in obesity cases.
Children consume large amounts of sugar, fat and high-calorie foods, and rarely choose vitamin and mineral-rich foods along with low calorie products. Weight problems are seen in parallel with an increase in socioeconomic and socio-cultural standards.
Another cause of the problem of overweight children is an inactive lifestyle. Addiction to technology and devices that encourage sitting for long periods of time such as computers, tablet pcs, cellphones and TVs are leading the way to unhealthy childhoods.
Childhood obesity also poses a risk for developing Type 2 diabetes, which is known as an adolescent illness, as well as hypertension and cardiovascular diseases. It may also result in polycystic ovarian syndrome in girls.
Children facing weight problems must see their doctor and their weight, height and body-mass index must be monitored regularly. However, families should never force their children to go on a diet without speaking first to an expert. Diets that are not prescribed by experts may result in mineral and vitamin deficiency and have a negative impact on children's growth.