Klinični oddelek za endokrinologijo, diabetes in presnovne bolezni, Pediatrična klinika, Univerzitetni klinični center Ljubljana, Ljubljana, Slovenija
Overweight and obesity in children and adolescents are associated with short- and long-term complications, which have an important effect on the quality of life.
Despite the large influence of genetic factors on the development of obesity, environmental factors, e.g. nutrition, physical activity, pollutants, sleep disorders, etc., have a decisive influence.
Hormonal disorders and monogenetic and syndromic forms of obesity are very rare causes of obesity.
Decreased insulin sensitivity of tissues is an important common denominator of several metabolic complications of obesity. Despite the fact that some complications are significantly less frequent in children and adolescents than in adults (e.g. type 2 diabetes mellitus), it is expected that these will become more prevalent at an increasingly younger age due to the natural development of obesity, which will significantly increase morbidity and mortality of the whole population. In addition, the quality of life of obese subjects is significantly impaired by non-metabolic complications, e.g. decreased physical competence and fitness, which lead to even further weight gain and the development of additional complications of obesity.
Considering the extent of the obesity problem, it is important to plan efficient and early public health measures as soon as possible. First and foremost it is important to design and execute measures to prevent overweight and obesity in children. In addition, therapeutic measures for the early treatment of obesity and the prevention of complications of obesity should be implemented.
Key words: obesity, genetics, hormones, insulin resistance, diabetes mellitus, dyslipidaemia, liver steatosis.