Obesity has been called the new American epidemic by many doctors. It is estimated that fifty eight million Americans living in the United States are obese, and that eight out of ten people who are over twenty-five are overweight. Every year approximately 300,000 people die from the disease. Obesity is America's fastest growing health concern. This condition not only exists in adults, but children as well. Doctors have found that nearly thirteen percent of all American children suffer from this problem, and that percentage goes up each year.
Obesity is, simply, excess body fat. An excess of body fat results from an imbalance between energy intake and energy output; consuming more calories than are needed to support your body’s energy needs. The reasons for this imbalance are unclear, and the relationship between energy intake and output and body fat storage and distribution varies from person to person. Factors that promote obesity include a genetic predisposition, family history of obesity, age behavioral factors, and biochemical differences.
Understanding the jump in childhood obesity rates is directly linked to understanding obesity itself. The American Academy of Pediatricians defines childhood obesity as occurring in kids who have a BMI over 30. (Dietz, 1993) It is also suggested that a child whose body weight is at least 20% higher than a child of a similar height is obese. Obesity can increase the risk of psychological problems in kids, like eating disorders, depression, sleep apnea, and anxiety problems, and it can also put children at risk for all sorts of physiological problems including heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes.
Childhood obesity increases the risk of orthopedic problems. Because kids are forced to carry extra weight that their bone structures cannot handle, bowed legs and arthritis becomes present because of it. Obese children also have more skin disorders than children that have a healthy... [continues]
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