Health Policy and Economics: Obesity in Children
Obesity represents a critical health care issue in the U.S. today. Scientists and researchers of the field of reproductive medicine are well aware of the danger that excess body fat hence body weight has to patients. Obese patients have greater occurrences of infertility than their leaner counterparts do. The obese individuals have been noticed to be at a higher risk in case of pregnancy and additional prenatal complications. Obesity is defined as an unnecessary buildup of body fat. "Obesity is present when total body weight is more than 25 percent fat in boys and more than 32 percent fat in girls" (Lohman, 1987). Although childhood obesity is often defined as a weight-for-height in excess of 120 percent of the ideal, skin fold measures are more accurate determinants of corpulence (Dietz, 676-686; Lohman, 1987). The New York State has a childhood obesity crisis; it has been notified that approximately 1.1 million young people are obese in New York. The issue of obesity among children is fueling the cost of health care crisis; more than $242 million is attributed to obese children straining the NY State budget. According to information retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the terms “obesity” and “overweight” refer to weights that are greater than the weight considered healthy for a given height. The mass index calculation is applied to a person’s height and weight to link the body fat to the condition of being obese. It is no longer a wonder to find a child as young as six month old who is obese. This condition has become rampant as children may grow to a point that is an epidemic. For children aged 2 to 19 years, the rate of obesity has increased threefold over the last three decades (Sassi, 2010). According to Torgan, "The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades; currently one child in five is overweight" (2002). Several factors have contributed to the rising numbers of obese children. The causes of obesity at childhood include; poor eating habits, processed foods that contain high fat and sugar concentration, and lack of physical exercises. A survey conducted among high school students in New York in 2007 has indicated that teenagers do not consume more than five of their daily serving as recommended, 62% do not attain the recommended physical activities levels and 87% do not have scheduled physical activities and those who have do not participate daily. The cases of obesity among children account for more long-term health care implications. Most of overweight children tend to become obese at their adulthood. There is a 0.7 probability of being overweight during adulthood that can turn into overweight during adolescent period. This probability may rise to 0.8 in case either or both parents are obese.
The main question in the present research paper is to identify the role played by policies and politics in regulation of obesity and body weight. Among the U.S. adults across the nation, a remarkable swift has been experienced in the increase of rates of obesity from 10% in the year 1990 to approximately 14% in 2007. Although these figures are approximated they however form the bases for the argument for the epidemic of obesity. The formulated policies gears toward seeking a solution to this situation. It should be noticed that for female, the influence of maternal obesity on the postnatal baby is dramatic. It entails increased morbidity and mortality owing to obstetric complications, abnormality of neural tubes, deformity of the newborn, not to mention the increased birth weight (Waters, 2011). The risk of diabetes to the newborn is also significantly high regardless of whether the mother is diabetic or not. In case of men, there is a reduction of testosterone, low concentration of sperms in terms of quantity and quality, where body mass index is over 30 i.e. obese. Despite...
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