The stigma of a child's weight can pose many consequences impacting their psychological and physical health, including an increase in being bullied, a vulnerability to depression, anxiety and substance abuse, as well as social isolation and adverse academic outcomes.
Children who are overweight or obese have a greater risk of chronic disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breathing problems and joint problems. Child obesity is also associated with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, bullying and lower self-reported quality of life.1 Children who are underweight may have undernutrition or underlying medical problems. A child’s underweight status may also indicate one or more of these contributing factors: stress or neglect at home, food insecurity (lack of reliable access to enough nutritional and affordable food), poverty, chronic disease, developmental disorders, or mental illness.1
Nearly 2 in 5 children ages 10–17 in the eight-county service area (an estimated 223,800) do not have a normal body weight.2 These children are less likely than children with a normal BMI to practice key healthy lifestyle behaviors, such as eating the recommended amount of healthy foods, getting the recommended amount of daily physical activity, or limiting daily screen time on most days. These children are also more likely to miss having family meals on most days.1