Childhood Obesity Today

In America, childhood obesity is on a rise today. Children can gain obsessive weight because of environmental factors. Vending machines, low cost on snacks, and a increase in the fast food chain are contributing factors towards obesity. Genetics can also play a part in childhood obesity. Many children come from a generation of overweight families. Most parents don’t see the harm in letting their children gain tons of weight. Obesity can cause many health problems. Childhood obesity affects the health of children because obese children are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes, sleep disorders, and asthma.

Childhood obesity increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes in children affects the way children bodies process sugar (glucose). The exact cause of Type 2 diabetes remain unknown but there are some factors that seem to play an essential role. Many of these factors include family history, genetics, and abdominal fat. (Mayo Clinic 2017) People with Type 2 diabetes don’t process glucose normally so as a result sugar accumulates in the bloodstream instead of doing its original job of fueling the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. (Mayo Clinic 2017) Most of the glucose in people’s bodies come from the food we digest. When food is consumed, sugar enters the bloodstream. Moving sugar from the bloodstream to the body’s cells requires a hormone known as insulin. As insulin circulates, it allows sugar to enter the cell and helps lower the amount of sugar in the bloodstream.

It is completely clear that certain risk factors increase the risk of children developing Type 2 diabetes. (Mayo Clinic 2017) Being overweight is a primary risk factor. The more fatty tissue children have, the more resistant their bodies cells become to insulin. The correlation between obesity and Type 2 diabetes is much more stronger in youth than in adults. (Mayo Clinic 2017) Type 2 diabetes also can have a negative effect on nearly every major organ in a child’s body. Many of these complications consist of high blood pressure, high cholesterol, kidney disease, blindness, amputation, and certain skin conditions. (Mayo Clinic 2017)

Next, sleep disturbance is a novel risk for increased vulnerability to obesity. Studies as early as 2002 illustrate the correlation between obesity in children and sleep duration. Also, sleep disturbance is linked to insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and Type 2 diabetes, which are all common in children with obesity. (Srivastava et al. 2018) The anxiety of environmental, behavioral, biological, developmental, and psychological factors may impact food intake leading to weight gain amongst children. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a increase in appetite. Although the process that contribute to the association of obesity and sleep disorders are continuing to be studied, there are some theories. Overall, imbalance sleep patterns influences the autonomic nervous system, resulting in pediatric obesity. (Srivastava et al. 2018)

Lastly, obesity is an independent risk factor for asthma. Although the prevalence of childhood obesity has increased, the rates differ by age, gender, ethnicity, and are also determined by socioeconomic factors. (Vijayakanthi et al. 2016) Distinctly, obesity is much more prevalent among Hispanic and African American children. Obesity in Hispanic and African American children are much more prevalent due to limited resources. Over the past decade, studies have found a correlation between childhood obesity and asthma. (Vijayakanthi et al. 2016) Clinical studies also suggest that obesity related asthma is different from normal-weight asthma. Obesity related asthma is associated with decreased medication responsiveness. Increased intake of processed food, high in fat and low in antioxidant content, is also associated with asthma. Fast food places are dominating our society. (Vijayakanthi et al. 2016) They benefit low income Americans because it helps them be able to afford a meal, although fast foods aren’t healthy. Obese children also tend to have a inactive lifestyle. An increased use of television, electronics, and video games have decreased outdoor play for most children. (Vijayakanthi et al. 2016) The numbers of hours playing video games and watching television correlate with asthma prevalence among children. Stationary lifestyle and decreased physical fitness cause obesity and thereby predispose children to asthma.(Vijayakanthi et al. 2016)

In conclusion, sleep disorders, asthma, and Type 2 diabetes are most likely to develop in obese children. Although these health problems can be a huge concern, they can also be prevented. Encouraging children to eat healthier foods is a way to decrease their chances in becoming obese. Focus on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Strive for a variety to prevent your children from becoming bored. (Mayo Clinic 2017) Next, children need to strive for more physical activities. In schools, programs, or even in their communities. Encouraging children to be active can also help lower their risk. Better yet, implement these ideas into a family household. The same lifestyle choices that adults make can help set a good example for children. These techniques not only benefit the children but the family as a whole. (Mayo Clinic 2017)

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