February 12, 2008
Last year before I transferred to SIUE, I was a receptionist for SIU School of Medicine’s Pediatric Department. I was exposed to children with autism, fetal alcohol syndrome, pre-maturity, and many more other types of children’s diseases. Although I was exposed to so many different types of childhood disorders while working in the clinic, every day I would see a different child being diagnosed with obesity. Obesity in children has become more of a norm over the past few decades, and we as a society need to find a way to treat and prevent this issue. One specific case is child I remember coming in to clinic named Jennifer. Jennifer was about nine years old and between four and five feet tall. She weighed one hundred and fifty pounds, which is about eighty pounds higher than what she is supposed to be for her age. Because Jennifer was miserably overweight for her height and age she was required to come in for weekly weight checks with a physician to see if she was losing any weight. Jennifer is an example of this obesity dilemma that made me interested in this topic.
At this point in my research, I really wanted to find some data that showed the increase in child obesity. I was surprised on how much information there was available on this topic, and apparently I was not the first to notice this trend in America’s children. According to the University of Michigan, in the years 2003-2004, 17.1% of children and teens, aged 2-19 years (over 12 and a half million young people) were overweight. Obesity is common enough among children and has gotten so out of control over the past twenty years that we can consider it an epidemic. “Studies have shown a dramatic rise in the number of obese children in the last few decades in the United States. Between 1980 and 2000 obesity rates doubled among children and tripled among teens” (Boyse).
After I found research showing the sudden...