Although pediatric and adolescent obesity is most common in lower socio-economic groups, it is prevalent at all income levels, including in upper-income families. In 1995, 2.9% of households in the top 5% of income had obese children or adolescents. The number has certainly risen over the past 8 years.
The cause of this epidemic is entirely behavioral: high-calorie diets and insufficient exercise.
The direct effects of pediatric and adolescent obesity are clear and well established:
- Type 2 diabetes mellitus (formerly adult onset diabetes)
- Hypertension and predisposition for cardiac disease
- Sleep apnea
- Gallbladder disease
- Kidney disease
- Eye diseases
- Nerve damage
- Various gastrointestinal disorders
- Various skeletal and orthopedic problems
- 80% increase in incidence of obesity in adulthood
- Obesity in adulthood likely to be more severe with earlier onset of co-morbidities
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