Are hormones causing my child's weight gain?

by Anne Dillon

The number of children who are obese remains alarmingly high in the U.S. and, unfortunately, diseases associated with obesity are on the rise. Worried about their overweight children, many parents wonder whether other diagnoses, such as hypothyroidism, could be the reason behind their child's weight gain.

More often than not, however, the underlying issues are environmental factors, such as a sedentary lifestyle or consumption of more calories than a child needs. Researchers are currently studying what role other environmental influences and genetic profiles may play in childhood obesity.

"Parents understand that obesity is a very serious condition. They are looking for ways to help their child become healthy and often get sidetracked from the real issues. Rarely some children may have a hormonal issue. However, this constitutes less than 1 percent of all causes of childhood obesity," said Himala Kashmiri, DO, head of pediatric endocrinology at Loyola University Health System and assistant professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine. "More commonly, and subsequent obesity are the consequence of a child's environment and predisposed risk for .

"If children stop their linear height or slow down in regards to height gain or are otherwise shorter than would be expected due to parent's height, then that certainly could and should raise concern for hormonal imbalances that may be leading to weight gain. Weight gain alone, however, is not solely a sign of hormonal imbalance," Kashmiri said.

Other signs that a child may have a hormonal issue include:

  • Drinking and urinating more than before
  • Excessive hunger
  • Experiencing unexplained weight loss
  • Feeling of tired and cold
  • Bowel irregularities
  • Changes to hair, skin or nails
  • Poor linear growth or short stature

"If your child has weight gain along with these other symptoms, it's important to talk to your pediatrician about seeing a specialist," Kashmiri said. "Although continues to rise, strategies to intervene and prevent actually are effective. These include decreasing sugary beverages, portion control, limiting fast food, making healthier food choices, increasing physical activity and decreasing screen time.

"Obesity can lead to numerous health issues, such as diabetes, elevated cholesterol, poor self-esteem, liver disease, and even cancer" he said. If your child is gaining weight, talk to your pediatrician about resources and strategies to help with weight management and decreasing your child's risk for these potential consequences."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Team develops anti-obesity treatment in animal models

date Mar 26, 2015

Researchers from the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) have shown that partial pharmacological inhibition of the PI3K enzyme in obese mice and monkeys reduces body weight and physiological manifestations ...

Binge eating linked to comorbidities in obese adults

date Mar 25, 2015

(HealthDay)—For obese adults, binge eating disorder (BED) may be associated with specific medical comorbidities, according to a study published online March 16 in the International Journal of Eating Di ...

Smaller plates don't always lead to smaller portions

date Mar 24, 2015

It may have become conventional wisdom that you can trick yourself into eating less if you use a smaller plate. But a UConn Health study finds that trick doesn't work for everyone, particularly overweight ...

Educating China's elderly to fight obesity in the young

date Mar 24, 2015

Academics from the University of Birmingham, UK are engaging with grandparents in China, to help tackle the increasing problem of obesity amongst Chinese children in a trailblazing public health programme.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.