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Impacts of childhood obesity

Overweight and obesity are increasingly common problems in children and young people in Scotland, with 30% currently classified as overweight or obese. This has major implications for their future health.

Today, obesity is well-established as a factor in the development of many preventable diseases, such as diabetes, coronary heart disease, strokes and certain cancers. 

There is also mounting evidence of chronic diseases manifesting much earlier – even in childhood, as in the case of type 2 diabetes. Managing these conditions imposes significant financial pressures on the NHS and society. As childhood obesity can continue into adulthood, and because the children of obese parents are more likely to be obese themselves, the problem perpetuates.

Overweight and obese children can also be affected by teasing and bullying, and often lack confidence at school and in the playground, where taking part in sports and games can be difficult or embarrassing.