Childhood Obesity

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Katie Maney
HCA 415
Community & Public Health
Dawn Tesner
October 8, 2012

Throughout the years, many changes have occurred in our society and one of the most surprising and growing trends are children’s sizes and weights. More and more children are coming into doctor’s offices with multiple health issues that all relate back to their weight. For some children weight is not an issue and everyday lives continues on, but for the children that struggle with their weight on a daily basis are at risk for multiple health issues now and in the future.

According to an article written by Elizabeth Smith in 1980 an average of seven percent of children in the six to eleven year old category were overweight and the rate of overweight children jumped to an astonishing eighteen 18.8 percent in 2004. The increased in the next age group, ages twelve to seventeen nearly tripled. The national Institute of Health estimated that nearly one in five children is overweight in the United States (Smith, 2008). In 2003-2004 in the age group of six to eleven year olds, an estimated 17.5% of African American males and 25.5% of African American females were overweight. A 25.3% of Mexican American males, 19.4% of Mexican American females were overweight, and 18.5% of Caucasian males and 16.9% of Caucasian females were estimated to be over weight in the United States (Smith, 2008).

Children that are overweight are at risk not only for health problems, but children are at risk for psychological problems too. One of three children that are obese face sociological disadvantages (Blacksher, 2008), this includes bulling, name calling and teasing. Some children suffer from dropping grades, poor attention spans and lack of self-confidence due to the school related issues. Some people believe that this is an inequality for children and that something needs to be done to prevent such happenings from occurring.

Along with school problems, many children face other health problems that are related to their obesity. “it is estimated that 61% of obese children have at least one additional marker for heart disease such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure(CDC,2007). Other health concerns for obese children are: bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, type two diabetes, asthma, liver disease, and learning difficulties are just a few of the current health concerns. It is estimated that 70% of overweight children are more likely to become over weight adults(Smith,2008) and with that that comes other health concerns.

Multiple studies have been conducted on childhood obesity in hopes to find a reason for the growing trend. Some people believe that children are becoming more and more obese due to parents more parents not properly feeding their children and nor promoting physical activities. However statistics have shown that genetics are playing a huge role in the increasing number of cases. It is said that over weight parents are more likely to have overweight children, and though there is not much that one can due to prevent their pre genetic disposition, nurses, doctors, midwives, and educators can help by educating parents on the importance of nutrition and exercise in their children’s lives(smith, 2008). Also some school systems have put into interventions to help prevent obesity in the school setting.

According to a study done on school based interventions, childhood obesity is an impending epidemic. The study was done to show the different interventions in the school setting to help manage obesity in children, which were in hopes of minimizing obesity in adulthood as the child gets older. “fifty one studies utilized a variety of obesity-related interventions in school-age children as subjects. Of these interventions, 15 only utilized an implantation or a modification of an existing physical activity program or an in-school physical education classes. Another 17 intervention protocols only use health and fitness educational models,...
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