Over the last 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled: among children aged 6 to 11 an increase from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008 and among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%.
Obesity results from caloric imbalance, where there are more calories consumed than calories expended. Genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors also play a role.
The immediate and long-term effects include:
Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease
Obese youth are more likely than youth of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis
There are ways to combat this epidemic, namely living a healthier style as a whole. Children should eat healthy foods and be physically active to lower their risks of becoming obese and suffering from related diseases. The CDC outlines how schools can help kids fight obesity at http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/keystrategies/pdf/make-a-difference.pdf.