Impact: Consequences for Childrens Lives


A further investigation of the impact obesity has on the growth and development of children with special needs.

“Childhood obesity, because it tends to track into adulthood and is itself a risk factor for the most prevalent chronic diseases, may represent a particular threat to the long-term health of many children with special health care needs.”

Paula M. Minihan, Sarah N. Fitch, and Aviva Must
“What Does the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity Mean for Children with Special Health Care Needs?”

Children with special needs and disabilities already work harder than their counterparts just to accomplish everyday tasks. Obesity adds an additional layer of difficulty for both children and their caretakers.
article-4_impactHere’s how:

  • Obesity can make movement more difficult and curtail a child’s ability to participate in leisure activities ranging from playground games to amusement park rides
  • Obesity adds an added stigma for children who may be already stigmatized because of their disability
  • Obesity makes it more difficult for caretakers to help their children with daily tasks like bathing and toileting
  • Obesity puts children, adolescents and adults at a higher risk of secondary health problems like type 2 diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, orthopedic problems, sleep apnea, breast, colon, and endometrial cancers, stroke, osteoarthritis, and gynecological problems
  • Obesity incurs additional health care costs

Knowing these facts and learning techniques that other parents are using will help reverse these numbers and improve the lifestyles of children with disabilities and special needs. This report is intended as a guide to action and as a resource for families, caregivers, professionals and policy makers committed to fighting the obesity epidemic.