An estimated 28% of children and adolescents in Australia are overweight or obese. In certain groups such Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, the number of children with obesity appears to be even higher.
Obesity presents numerous problems for children and teenagers. It takes a toll on both physical and mental health. As obese children also tend to be obese in later life, it is important for parents to set the right example for their children from an early age.
Also, being overweight and remaining so increases the chance of developing a range of medical conditions. For example, the rate of type 2 diabetes is continuing to rise in children and adolescents. Other problems occurring at a higher rate in overweight children include sleep apnoea, heat intolerance, breathlessness on exertion, tiredness and flat feet. Being overweight can also make a child more vulnerable to decreased self-esteem and eating unhealthily to attempt to control weight.
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Last reviewed: July 2018