Child Obesity Paper

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Obesity is a huge epidemic in America, as more alarming statistics begin to emerge - including estimates that 30% of all adults and as many as one-third of all children in the US are obese. About one in five children in the United States is now overweight! (Child Obesity Facts, 1999, para.2) Childhood obesity has lasting psychological effects, due to parental knowledge, lack of physical activities, and food advertisement; which has made obesity become a major health issue in many young children's lives today. First, what is child obesity? The term child obesity means, “A child is between birth and puberty and is extremely overweight and has a body mass index BMI at or the 95th percentile.” (Hassink, 2006) This disease is caused by lack of exercise and over-eating by a child. Child obesity can cause many medical problems; for a child that suffers from obesity, issues such as high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and Type 2 Diabetes can occur. In the article “Childhood Obesity in New York City Elementary School Students”, the author Lorna E. Thorpe discusses the numbers and statistics of how many kids are really overweight. “Findings from the most recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey indicate that in 1999-2000, the prevalence of obesity among children aged six through eleven years was 15 percent. Previous surveys have shown that in 1960 the obesity rate was five percent, and at eleven percent in 1988-1994.” (Thorpe, List, Marx, May & Al, 2004, para.4) It is easy to see that the obesity rates are climbing rapidly. With obesity, come many dangerous side effects, both short term and long term. Short term side effects of obesity are “adverse effects on growth, blood pressure, blood lipids, and glucose metabolism” Long term effects consist of “greater risk of hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gall bladder disease, and osteoarthritis” (Thorpe et al. 2004,para.5). Along with physical effects of obesity, a child will also experience many physiological effects. Thorpe, also stated that ,“Negative self-image, decreased self-esteem, eating disorders, and lower health-related quality of life are just a few of the things that will come into effect due to obesity” These are all examples of the physiological side effects. These can have a severe impact on a child’s outlook on life as he or she grows older. Child obesity needs to be addressed immediately, it is wrong to negatively affect a child’s well being, health, and growth. Parents need to get informed of how they can help their children by making better choices and by helping, and educating parents about what they are feeding their children. This in turn will help children by encouraging them to adapt to a healthier lifestyle and become healthier individuals. The most common and influencing factor is the home environment. Other factors include diet, the lifestyle, and culture. Recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables are not being met by today's youth. Fifty-one percent of children and adolescents eat less than one serving a day of fruit, and 29 percent eat less than one serving a day of vegetables that are not fried. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture of USDA, children drink 16 percent less milk now than in the late 1970's, and 16 percent more carbonated soft drinks. (Koplan, et. al., 2005) Children have no sense of health and being obese. They are often unaware of the long term damage it may do to their bodies. The problem with cultures is that parents are also unaware of the risks attached with obesity. Parents themselves do not keep a healthy diet. Therefore they are not watchful of what their children eat. Obese children are often those who become overweight and obese adults. This is an ongoing cycle in today’s society. Obesity is the root of majority of the diseases and it often leads to death. So it is better to control it during childhood, when it is just the start....
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