How Obesity Can Hurt Your Child’s Muscles, Bones & Joints

family eating healthy foodsObesity is a condition that can cause a wide range of both health and social problems for children as they grow. Problems such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, sleep apnea and depression are common among those suffering from life-long obesity.

The excess weight carried by a child can also cause hormonal imbalances and vitamin deficiencies that, along with the physical stress of carrying the weight, can affect their bone growth and general musculoskeletal health. Severe obesity can lead to the limited mobility that diminishes the quality of life your child can hope to experience and makes visiting pediatric orthopedics a regular event.

Obesity Can Alter Growth Plate Development

Excess weight can alter the development of a child’s bones by damaging the growth plates. These are the areas of developing tissue at the ends of long bones such as those in the arms and legs. This strain can also cause early arthritis and other conditions such as Blount’s disease, flat feet and other conditions treated by pediatric orthopedics.

The stress that is put on growing bones by obesity can lead to a lifetime of pain and limited mobility for a child.

Bone Breaks Are a Greater Risk for Obese Kids

Children who are obese or overweight may have an increased risk of bone fractures due to the stress put on their bones by their weight. Children who are also inactive may also have weakened bone structure that puts them at greater risk for bone breaks.

How to Limit the Damage Done by Obesity

Losing weight is the only way to treat obesity, however it’s also important for children to have adequate calories and nutrients for their growing bodies. Whole, unprocessed foods rich in calcium and vitamin D are important for healthy bone development. Regular exercise is also an important part of aiding bone growth and development.