Circulation 2012 ; 126: 1770-9.
PubMed ID : 23027812
PMCID : PMC3785130
Childhood obesity has important consequences for health and wellbeing both during childhood and also in later adult life. The rising prevalence of childhood obesity poses a major public health challenge in both developed and developing countries by increasing the burden of chronic noncommunicable diseases. Despite the urgent need for effective preventative strategies, there remains disagreement over its definition due to a lack of evidence on the optimal cut-offs linking childhood BMI to disease risks, and limited evidence on the most effective components of interventions to prevent childhood obesity. This article reviews the trends in childhood obesity, its genetic, nutritional and other risk factors, and preventative and treatment strategies. Particular emphasis is given to early-onset obesity in preschool children, which, as a precursor to later childhood and adult obesity, provides insights into the developmental and genetic origins of obesity and also offers the potential for early preventative approaches with long-lasting benefits.