Childhood Obesity: Causes, Consequences, and Management

Pediatr Clin North Am. 2015 Aug;62(4):821-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pcl.2015.04.001. Epub 2015 May 23.


One-third of North American children are overweight or obese. Pathologic obesity accounts for only a small percentage of these cases. The vast majority are the result of a complex interaction of genetic and hormonal, nutritional, physical activity, and physical and social environmental factors. Obesity increases the risk for various cardiometabolic, pulmonary, and psychosocial complications for children, which often continues into adulthood. Multidisciplinary care, focusing on family-centered behavior change, is an evidence-based, essential part of the treatment, along with pharmacologic and surgical options for more complex cases. Prevention and early intervention strategies are key to reversing the obesity epidemic.

Keywords: Adolescent; Cardiometabolic risk; Childhood; Lifestyle interventions; Obesity; Prevention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Body Mass Index
  • Counseling
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / etiology
  • Dyslipidemias / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / etiology
  • Male
  • Mass Screening
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Pediatric Obesity / etiology*
  • Pediatric Obesity / therapy*
  • Polycystic Ovary Syndrome / etiology
  • Primary Prevention
  • Risk Factors
  • Secondary Prevention
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / etiology