Childhood obesity is an excess of body fat, which occurs over time due to a positive energy balance (energy intake > energy expended). In other words, a positive energy balance occurs when the energy that your child gets from food and drinks (energy intake) is higher than the energy used from being physically active (energy out). Many other factors including genetics, medications, the home and school environments, and children’s lifestyle habits (e.g., amount of sleep; time spent viewing screens) can impact energy balance and obesity in children.
Children with obesity are at greater risk for developing chronic (long-term) diseases and conditions, including type 2 diabetes, heart disease, sleep and breathing problems, and bone and joint pain. Also, children with obesity often grow up to be adults with obesity. In order for children and families to be as healthy as possible, parents have an important role to play in talking with their health care professionals (e.g., doctors, nurses) about their children’s weight and health.