November 15, 2012
Causes of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition not only in America but also in other countries. It can lead to many medical issues that will follow a child into adulthood. Obesity is on the rise among American children of all ages, gender, and ethnic background; some of the causes for this in our young Americans are a decrease in physical activity, an increase in high fat and sugary foods, and genetic factors. Although most causes for childhood obesity can be easily redirected with a few lifestyle changes, some unfortunately are non-avoidable.
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates have tripled in the U.S. Today the country has some of the highest obesity rates in the world. One out of six children is obese, and one out of three children is overweight or obese. (Ogden CL) Though the overall U.S. child obesity rate has held steady since 2008, some groups have continued to see increases, and some groups have higher rates of obesity than others do: •In the 1970s, 5 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 were obese, according to the CDC’s current definition; by 2008, nearly 17 percent of children were obese, a percentage that held steady through 2010. (Ogden CL) •Obesity is more common in boys than girls (19 percent versus 15 percent) (Ogden CL). •Obesity rates in boys increased significantly between 1999 and 2010, especially among non-Hispanic black boys; but obesity rates in girls of all ages and ethnic groups have stayed largely the same. (Ogden CL) •Hispanic (21 percent) and non-Hispanic black (24 percent) youth have higher rates of obesity than non-Hispanic white youth (14 percent), a continuing trend. (Ogden CL) •Almost 10 percent of U.S. infants had a high “weight for recumbent length”—a measure that is similar to the body mass index but used in children from birth to age 2. (Ogden CL)
•From 1999 to 2010, Mexican American infants were 67 percent more likely to have a high weight for recumbent length than non-Hispanic white infants were. (Ogden CL)
This leads me to believe that with this kind of increase in obesity in our young children, it is looking like a disaster waiting to happen. If something does not happen to resolve this problem soon, the world will be in serious trouble. Our children and our children’s children will become fatter and lazier as the years pass by.
A growing number of health care experts have called the childhood obesity epidemic a disaster in the making for the nation’s economy and health care system. However, when that looming crises combines with two other major developments–the retirement of the baby boom generation and the fiscal woes of both Medicare and Social Security system–it has all the makings of a perfect storm: a massive collision of rampaging fronts with the power to cause staggering damage (Larimore, Flynt and Halliday, 12-13).
An increase in high fat and sugary foods is also a big factor in the growing numbers of obesity in our children. Instead of a nice healthy dinner prepared at home, busy families are resorting to fast food restaurants because it is less time consuming and easier to deal with. Almost one-third of American kids aged four to nineteen will eat today at a fast-food place, a fivefold increase since 1970. On average, they will eat 187 more calories per day than those who refrain from fast food, and they will ingest more fats, sugars, and carbohydrates (Larimore, Flynt, and Halliday, 30).
The increase of sugar intake has also become a problem when it comes to childhood obesity. One of the more famous sugary consumptions is soft drinks. Particularly carbonated soft drinks may be a key contributor to the epidemic of overweight and obesity, by virtue of these beverages' high-added sugar content, low satiety, and incomplete compensation for total energy (Malik MS, Schulse MB, and Hu FB, 274-288)....