What Causes Metabolic Disorders in Children?

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  • Written By: Brandon May
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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There are many environmental and genetic influences on body weight and composition, making the study and treatment of metabolic disorders in children quite complicated. It is known that lifestyle behaviors, such as diet and exercise, are major factors for increasing the risk of developing metabolic disorders, like obesity and diabetes. Sometimes, a child might inherit genetic abnormalities that increase the chance of having metabolic disorders in childhood or later in life. Prescription medications to treat metabolic disorders in children are often used during or after a program that includes proper nutrient intake and healthy physical exercise.

The most common metabolic disorders in children are obesity and type two diabetes, as well as increased hunger signals and lack of energy. More often than not, metabolic disorders in children are likely to blame on lifestyle factors, such as a poor diet or lack of exercise and physical movement. Excess consumption of high calorie foods from grocery stores and fast-food restaurants do not adequately nourish a growing body, which needs raw materials such as vitamins and minerals for proper metabolism. Many times a doctor will recommend that a child see a dietitian, who can exam the diet and create a meal plan to help decrease body weight and improve energy.


Researchers also suggest that too much television and computer and video game activities contribute to the rise in metabolic syndrome in young children and adults. Lack of exercise can slow metabolism and decrease muscle mass, increasing the chances of gaining fat and developing disorders like diabetes. Physical activity, such as walking, biking or running, can decrease the chance of developing diabetes, the most common disorder associated with metabolic syndrome. Many doctors recommend children receive at least two hours of physical activity every day, or as needed based on age and body weight.

Children may inherit genetic abnormalities from close family members, making them more susceptible to developing a metabolic disorder. Often, the child will have trouble losing weight, controlling blood sugar and feeling full from a meal; however, these metabolic issues can be treated or slightly alleviated by modifying lifestyle behaviors. These children might also be prescribed certain medications to keep blood sugar steady and aid in easing metabolic distress. Surgeries to decrease weight rapidly are not highly recommended for children suffering from any metabolic disorder, as they do not treat the cause of the issue and present life-threatening risks.


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