Obesity in childhood is associated with the presence of complications that can undermine health immediately or in the long term. Several conditions, such as pulmonary or orthopedic complications are strictly associated with the severity of overweight, since they are directly associated to the mechanic stress of fat tissue on the airways or on the bones. Other conditions, such as metabolic or liver complications, although increasing with the extent of overweight, are associated with insulin resistance, which can be modulated by different other factors (ethnicity, genetics, fat distribution) and can occur in overweight children as well. No less important are psychological correlates, such as depression and stigma, which can seriously affect the health related quality of life. Pediatric services for the care of childhood obesity need to be able to screen overweight and obese children for the presence of physical and psychological complications, which can be still reversed by weight loss. This article provides pediatricians a comprehensive update on the main complications in obese children and adolescents and their treatment.
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