A study done in 2002 found that, almost 14 million children are obese, that is 24 percent of the U.S. population from ages 2 to 17. This number just keeps rising as the years go by.
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Some people would argue that the increasing numbers are due to sugary dinks and foods sold in vending machines at schools, or not enough healthy food options. Other parties can argue that this number keeps increasing because of bad healthcare and not enough opportunities for children’s parents to seek help for their children. In this essay I will be trying to better understand and explain this large epidemic.
What exactly is obesity? Well the textbook definition of obesity is “The condition of being grossly fat or overweight”. Medically speaking though it is a disorder, of sorts, that involves excessive fat in the body that can later cause a tremendous amount of health problems in later years of anyone struggling with obesity. Obesity is mostly self-diagnosed and self-treatable for the most part.
Obesity is mainly caused when a person intake more calories than they need, weather it is in a meal or in a day, and not burning the same number of calories taken in. There are some instances where obesity can be a genetic problem and that is when “Your genes may affect the amount of body fat you store, and where that fat is distributed. Genetics may also play a role in how efficiently your body converts food into energy and how your body burns calories during exercise.” (Mayo clinic).
Taking a look at the risk factors now is when things may get a little frightening. When anyone not only children are suffering from obesity, they are at risk for so many health problems. Children specifically will more than likely have to deal with these health problems for a large majority of their lives. These risks include: type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, fat accumulation in the liver (causing livers disease), sleep apnea, and depression, just to name a few. These problems can be detrimental to one’s health and even self-esteem.
Now talking about just the obesity epidemic in children alone that is a touchy subject for a few people. Some like to put blame on healthcare and the cost of it in high poverty areas. For other like to think it is a parental problem and lack of healthy food options. After taking a look at all sides it seems that they all have some things in common, children are not getting enough exercise. In today’s society everything is electronic, and kids do not necessarily get out anymore.
The children that are obese are the ones that mainly stay indoors and do not exactly play sports. Yes, there are a few instances where there are children that are obese and are extremely active and play sports, in those cases their obesity may be a genetic problem or a problem they could have been born with. Most children that are obese though are the ones that don’t really go outside anymore. They just stay indoors on the couch and eat.
Now looking at the costs of being obese, in the long run, are very expensive. “About 70 percent of the total annual health care expenditures for obese children are financed by Medicaid and private insurance. However, over one-quarter, which is 26 percent, of the health care costs for obese children are paid out-of-pocket by their families. Some of these payments may be for services not generally covered by health insurance, such as weight management programs or supportive services. Low-income families are more likely to have restricted access to these types of services.” (Georgetown university.)
Technically the families of those children with obesity are the ones that suffer because now they are the ones paying all the medical costs, especially if they are part of the population that is in poverty. These are the statistics of the side of this argument that like to not necessarily put blame on the parents but do say that if a parent gave their child better food choices, they wouldn’t have to deal with this.
In conclusion Childhood obesity truly is a problem that needs to be fixed. The number of children that are suffering now from type 2 diabetes or have heart or liver failure is not good. Not only can this lead to their death but it can cause problems for them in the future or cause their family a lot of pain and hardship.
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