Childhood Obesity: Causes and Consequences

Obesity is one of the leading causes of diseases. Over the past 60 years obesity has increased amongst the human population. There is an increasing amount of children who are facing and dealing with obesity. It is hard for nutrition to be a factor of importance when people are always in an “on the go” position. Obesity has become an epidemic amongst children and has even acquired the government’s involvement, including the former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama with her various involvement to improve obesity amongst the children of America. Diseases such as diabetes is becoming more commonly diagnosed in an enormous amount of people including children within the past 10 year. The value of nutrition is important for children to maintain a healthy lifestyle and keep obesity to a minimum. Childhood obesity is a result of poor nutritional support due to processed food and a decline in exercise.

Research

Childhood obesity affects 12.7 million kids according to the Center for Disease Control(2015). Obesity leads to a lot of health issues, which in return accounts for a vast amount of medical cost. Treating the obesity can be costly, and is not a cheap task. The CDC(2015) estimates about 150 billion(USD) a year is used to treat health issues related to the cause of obesity. Childhood obesity ranges from children age 2-19 years old. The CDC(2017) also expresses that childhood obesity is also common amongst certain populations as shown in figure 1. In the data it is shown that Hispanics have the largest number of obese children at 25.8% and asian being 11%. There is a great difference in culture, and the types of food consumed. The World Health Organization(WHO) states that childhood obesity increases the risk of death and disabilities for children and will follow them all the way into adulthood(2018). Some disabilities include breathing problem, increased risk in bone damages due to the pressure of their weight, and cardiovascular disease.

Genetics

It is believed to some that genetics are a related cause to childhood obesity, however, it is a myth. Genetics can only make it harder to keep weight down because a person is more susceptible to gaining weight. According to MedlinePlus.com a health information website, thousand of years ago the genetic trait to retain weight would have been a great trait to have, fat was being store so a person would not feel hungry for a long period of time(2016) This trait would have gave a person time to find food without feeling famished. With this genetic trait there is to be awareness of the fact that weight can be stored easily, but it does not always lead to obesity depending on the person lifestyle and regular activity. Even a person with out this trait who does not engage in physical activity can become obese. Children in this case usually know when to stop, because they listen to their bodies(MedlinePlus,2016). One of the ways MedlinePlus that children become obese is because they have a genetic disease called “Prader-Willi syndrome”(2016). Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic disorder that is derived from birth. It creates a sense of hunger all the time along this other abnormalities. Although it increases the risk of obesity, it does not cause it. A person with genetic disorder that can link or increase the chances of obesity should be aware of their limits of how much they can and cannot consume within a period of time.

Why Does Childhood Obesity Matter?

Childhood obesity is rising every year due to the factors of malnutrition and lack of physical activity. Children are entering adulthood with problems that greatly affect their lives. Some of these problems are a direct root to the causes to cancers such as endometrial, breast and colon(WHO,2014). Obesity in children hinders them from growing into proper adults, about 2.9 million people a years die from health issues related to obesity(WHO,2014). Childhood obesity is not a issue that should be overlooked, some children are the victims of bullying, and are the bullies themselves. Authors of a pediatrics article have revealed that overweight and obese children are more susceptible to being victims and perpetrators of bullying behaviors than their normal-weight peers( Janssen,Craig, Boyce, Pickett, 2004). These behaviors can lead to social and physiological disorders.

Processed Foods

Many Americans fail to meet the recommended dietary guidelines of nutrient intake and over consume high, empty calorie foods. Fast food has become the go to for Americans fast paced lifestyle, especially those who work and the children of those working parents. In 1977-1978 fast food consumption only accounted for 4 percent of Americans daily energy intake (Bauer, Hearst, Earnest, French, Oakes & Harnack, 2012). “During 2007-2010, US adults consumed over 11 percent of their daily total calories from fast food” (An, 2016). A drastic increase in the amount of fast food consumed. More processed and premade food is purchased and prepared outside the home. Convenience is one of the biggest reasons for purchasing processed and premade food for working or single parents. For parents who both work it is easy, cheap and convenient to stop at a fast-food restaurant than to go home and cook a nutritious meal that may take more time. The processed food purchased on average contains more sugar, calories, trans and saturated fat than a person needs for half the cost of healthier options. Fast-food outlets are on just about every corner. Children need proper Nutritional diets while they are still growing and fast food lacks a lot of the nutrients needed. This leaves children malnourished and prone to health issues when they grow older, because their bodies did not grow properly. Processed food are a threat to children who are obese or vulnerable to becoming obese due to the fact that it does not contribute any nutrient and store fat for later consumption.

Exercise

Eating unhealthy is not the only factor in becoming obese. Another significant factor in becoming obese is a lack of physical activity during leisure time. Approximately 4 in 5 Americans in 2015, did not meet the recommended levels of physical activity (An, Xiang, Yang & Yan, 2016). Several studies have been conducted to examine why physical activity is declining and obesity rates are increasing. According to the CDC, only about 3 in 10 teens get more than 60 minutes of physical activity a day. In a study done by Van Grouw & Volpe in 2013, a majority of low income parents did not know there was a correlation between the physical inactivity and development of obesity. Technology has advanced tremendously in the last 50 years shifting what people do in their leisure time activities. Kids are spending more time playing video games, watching tv and on social media than going outside and playing or being physically active. Parent are using technology as a way to control their children and make them behave or keep quiet. Children are losing their imaginations and overall physical and mental capabilities, because they do not get enough exercise during the day. Many factors need to be addressed when assessing the reason for the rise in childhood obesity

Conclusion

Childhood obesity is a problem that many children struggle from, and will continue to struggle from throughout their whole life. There are options to reduce the chances of obesity in children, such as education in physical activities, nutrition and mental health. 45% of children that are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes were linked with obesity. Kohl’s department store has started a program to help educate youth and their families on the importance of healthy eating. Children are important and so is their health, and parents and other Americans should want to help children grow and enjoy their life to become successful adults.

References.

An, R. (2015, July 01). Fast-food and full-service restaurant consumption and daily energy and nutrient intakes in US adults. Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://www.nature.com/articles/ejcn2015104

An, R., Xiang, X., Yang, Y., & Yan, H. (2016, December 13). Mapping the Prevalence of Physical Inactivity in U.S. States, 1984-2015. Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0168175

Bauer, K. W., Hearst, M. O., Earnest, A. A., French, S. A., Oakes, J. M., & Harnack, L. J. (2012). Energy content of U.S. fast-food restaurant offerings: 14-year trends. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 43(5), 490.

Janssen, I., Craig, W. M., Boyce, W. F., & Pickett, W. (2004, May 01). Associations Between Overweight and Obesity With Bullying Behaviors in School-Aged Children. Retrieved December 4, 2018, from http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/113/5/1187

Obesity and overweight. (2018, February 16). Retrieved December 04, 2018, from http://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/obesity-and-overweight

Overweight & Obesity. (2018, August 13). Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html

Ogden, C. L., Carrol, M. D., Fryer, C. D., & Flegal, K. M. (2015). Prevalence of obesity among adults and youth: United States, 2011-2014. Retrieved December 4, 218, from file:///C:/Users/fem227/Downloads/db288%20(1).pdf

Why does childhood overweight and obesity matter? (2014, October 06). Retrieved December 4, 2018, from https://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/childhood_consequences/en/

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