University of Split, School of Medicine,
Correspondence to: Irena Bralić, MD, PhD. Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of Split, School of Medicine, Split, Croatia. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abstract: Obesity is a global public health problem. The prevalence of obesity and the risk of obesity is rising both in childhood and in adolescence throughout the world and also in Croatia. Although obesity causes short-term and long-term, direct and indirect effects on the health of an individual and the population, parents usually do not recognise it as their child's health problem. Obesity may be primary or secondary, the causes endogenic and exogenic. Obesity most often occurs as a result of an imbalance between excessive intake and reduced consumption of energy. The clinical challenges are the relatively long, asymptomatic course, the objective diagnostics of obesity and obesity-associated diseases, and the most often frustrating results of treatment. Due to the very limited possibilities of treatment in childhood, prevention is the foundation of intervention. Prevention of obesity begins with the prenatal formation or correction of incorrect dietary and lifestyle habits. Primary prevention of obesity is aimed at anthropometric monitoring and education of the healthy population. Secondary and tertiary prevention of obesity comprises specific interventions through clinical and laboratory supervision of the population at risk of developing obesity, specifically adjusted to the individual needs of the obese child. Multi-discipline, continuous and professionally coordinated preventive programmes are the foundation for resolution of the problem of obesity in childhood and adolescence, which require the engagement and cooperation of families, the health and education systems, and the support of the media and the social community.