Obesity in Childhood

There are numerous issues that society faces on a daily basis. One of the issues that society faces is obesity. It is one of the leading risks of death and has been ongoing since the 1960s and 1970s.

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Obesity is an issue that continues to grow not only in the United States but also in developing countries as well. Not only does obesity affect adults but it has become a serious issue for children. According to an article, “approximately 12.7 million, or 16.9 percent, of children and adolescents aged two through nineteen years are considered obese” (Karson). In addition to how many children are obese, a study has shown that “The five states with the highest rates of overweight and obese kids are all in the Southeast–top-ranked Mississippi (44.4%), Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. Minnesota and Utah were tied with the lowest rates (23.1%)” (Adams).

Over the past couple of years, childhood obesity has become more of an epidemic as more children become overweight or obese every year. Parents play a huge part in preventing their children from becoming obese. The question is, what are the causes of childhood obesity and how can this issue be addressed? Childhood obesity can lead to many health and social issues which are the reasons why parents should take the initiative to prevent their children from becoming obese. Parents can change the lives of their children by becoming good role models and encouraging them to eat healthy foods and going outside to do physical activity.

There are several causes when it comes to childhood obesity. Genetics is one cause that can determine between someone that is more likely to gain more pounds easily than a normal person that has a high metabolism because of their DNA. Another cause for childhood obesity is a poor unhealthy diet. Eating a poor diet can result in gaining extra pounds and excess body fat. A good example of a poor diet is eating food which contains preservatives and low nutrition or drinks that have too much sugar such as junk food, snack foods, sugary beverages. In the article “Childhood Obesity: Trends and Potential Causes,” the author explains that “individuals consuming fast food meals have higher energy intake with lower nutritional values” (Anderson 12). Additionally, a lack of physical activity can also result in becoming less active and adding more weight. In the article “The Search For Obesity’s Causes,” the author explains that “The likelihood of being overweight or obese was greater if a child has a TV in his bedroom or watches more than two hours a day (41% greater odds)” (Adams). This is a good example of how bad parenting can result in less physical activity and spending more time on entertainment such as watching TV and playing video games. Childhood obesity also has an effect on poor academic performance in school. According to a research study, “overweight and obese children were four times more likely to report having problems at school than their normal weight peers. They are also more likely to miss school more frequently, especially those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes and asthma, which can also affect academic performance” (Sahoo).

Other factors that contribute to childhood obesity are parents, depression, anxiety, and eating disorders. Parents can be a factor for obesity because of bad role modeling and not encouraging their children to eat healthy foods and never doing physical activity outdoors. Depression can cause poor eating habits which can increase the chances of becoming obese in the future. Anxiety can cause a lack of energy which can make a person less active and add additional weight. Eating disorders such as unhealthy diet practices can lead to anxiety and depression but can also damage your vital organs such as your brain or your heart. While all these factors contribute to childhood obesity, there are also health issues and diseases that develop.

Children who are obese are more likely to develop serious health issues and diseases in the future. Some health issues that develop when a person is obese are type 2 diabetes, heart disease, bone and joint disease, breathing problems, and high blood pressure. These are the most common health issues that can occur for a person that is obese. Although most of the physical conditions that contribute to childhood obesity are preventable if a child reaches a healthy weight when they get older, some are not lucky as it can lead to more issues in the future and possibly death. In addition to these health issues, there are several types of cancer that can develop if a person is obese. These types include breast cancer, colon cancer, endometrial cancer, esophageal cancer, gallbladder cancer, kidney cancer, liver cancer, meningioma, multiple myeloma, ovarian cancer, pancreatic cancer, stomach cancer, and thyroid cancer. Additionally, studies have shown that obesity has become the second cause of cancer. Besides the health issues of childhood obesity, there are also social issues that develop.

While the health consequences are severe for obesity, childhood obesity can affect a child’s social and emotional health. Some of the social issues that contribute to childhood obesity include bullying and discrimination. In the article, “Childhood Obesity: Causes and Consequences,” the author explains that “Obese children are often excluded from activities, particularly competitive activities that require physical activity. It is often difficult for overweight children to participate in physical activities as they tend to be slower than their peers and contend with shortness of breath” (Sahoo et al.). This is an example of how discrimination contributes to childhood obesity. Not only do these social issues affect a child’s emotions, but these issues can also lead to more psychological issues in the future.

Childhood obesity can cause some psychological issues which include low self-esteem, low self-confidence, depression, behavioral issues, ADHD, quality of life, and eating disorders. While these are some of the issues that contribute to childhood obesity, the most common is low self-esteem and depression. Low self-esteem can affect a child’s academic performance and affect the quality of life but can also cause loneliness, sadness, and nervousness. This can often lead to depression which can cause a child to lose interest in their activities and become less social with their friends and family. Depression can also cause poor eating habits and overeating which leads to gaining more weight and building fat. These are some the issues that contribute to childhood obesity.

As researchers have shown the impact of childhood obesity, it is essential to come up with solutions to resolve the issue. As stated earlier, childhood obesity is an ongoing problem that persists in our society. To resolve the issue of childhood obesity, there needs to be some involvement within the community and government to figure out solutions to rectify the problem. So, what are some solutions that could be used to resolve childhood obesity? Based on the social issue, a research question was formed. What are the causes of childhood obesity and how can this issue be addressed?

Some of the options that could be utilized to reduce the issue of childhood obesity are adding warning labels to sugared beverages and foods, improving early education facilities, and providing education programs to children to help control obesity. Adding warning labels to sugary beverages and foods would be a good option to reduce the issue of childhood obesity because it warns children and adolescents about the consequences of consuming unhealthy food and drinks. In a research article, “Warning Labels Can Help Reduce Soda Consumption and Obesity, New Study Suggests,” the author explains that “warning labels in locations that sell sugary drinks, including grocery and corner stores, reduced both obesity and overweight prevalence” (Warning Labels). This can help change a customers decision when buying sugared drinks or junk food at a grocery store or supermarket.

Improving early education facilities such as child care are another great solution for reducing the number of obese children. Some ways that early education facilities can improve are providing organic healthy food and providing education on what foods are good or bad. This can impact what children consume and how physically active they are. It also helps children develop good eating habits that will help them in the future when they become older.

The last solution that would be beneficial to the issue of childhood obesity is providing education on obesity to children because it will help them learn the health consequences of obesity as well as other information about fast food and organic food. Not only will this solution help children think about what to eat, but it also creates awareness. Some ways that schools can help provide education on obesity are creating posters about obesity in classrooms and in cafeterias. PowerPoint presentations are also a great way of raising awareness to children about obesity. All of these solutions have benefits as well as hindrances.

In conclusion, childhood obesity can be contributed to several causes such as genetics, a poor unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, and poor academic performance. It is an ongoing issue that has been around since the 1960s and 1970s and has increased in the past years. To reduce the number of obese children, the three solutions that will help benefit in resolving childhood obesity are adding warning labels to sugary drinks and foods, improving the early education facilities, and providing education about obesity to children. Some ways a parent can help prevent their child from becoming obese is becoming a good role model, encouraging their children to eat healthy foods, and encouraging them to stay active by doing physical education outdoors.

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