Childhood Obesity

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If you look around an average classroom, school, or playground you will see that far too many children are stricken with obesity. Obesity, or excessive weight and body mass to an unhealthy extent, can be found all across the world and is increasing in popularity. The United States is no exception to this trend and in fact is one of the most rapid growing countries in obesity today, containing the highest percentage of obese persons. Obesity has become an epidemic that has had a great impact on the youth in our society. Without necessary changes being made to the way we handle childhood obesity, the trend will only continue for the worst.

Although America is the leading country in obesity, it is not the only one stricken with the disease. In fact, many countries around the world have increasing numbers of obese people. In places such as China, obesity has increased over 168 percent in the matter of fifteen years. (Wang) The study evaluating that trend ended in 2009 and the percentage is only increasing as time is passing. (Wang) Even more shocking, if trends continue as they are, obesity is suppose to reach two thirds of the population by 2050 alone. (Phillips) Although the locations may be different, the reasons for obesity are almost identical. Manu Raj shows in his article, “Obesity and Cardiovascular Risk In Children and Adolescents,” just how much obesity is affecting the world. In 2010 a study was taken in 144 countries that showed over 43 million children are overweight and obese, a trend which is likely to increase to 60 million by the year 2020. (Raj) This increase in obesity will lead to an accompanying increase in mortality rates across the globe. In examination done by Laura Aballay and coauthors, it is states that obesity rates, as well as cardiovascular risks, across the globe are “related mainly to aging, ethnicity effects, and preventable risky lifestyle conditions.” (Aballay) Meaning, the disease is preventable, as well as curable with positive life choices. The article then goes into more detail to show how preventative behavior such as exercise, weight control and healthy diets play a role in obesity and may reduce the risk of these diseases.

Obesity, if not prevented or controlled, not only effects children in the present time, but also plays a large role in their future outlooks as well. As explained by Manu Raj, children who suffer from obesity are more likely to develop diseases and issues later on in life including: coronary heart disease, cardiovascular risks, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation of the heart, sleep apnea and much more. (Raj) Along with heart conditions, obesity can greatly affect cancer and mortality rates accompanying it. Aballay states, “obesity may be associated with mortality from a number of malignancies, including cancers of the colon, pancreas, kidney, prostate, breast, and endometrium.” In other words, obesity in conjunction with cancer can lower a person’s immune system and ability to fight of the cancer, increasing mortality rates among those affected. (Aballay)

Along with the physical results of obesity, many children suffer emotional and mental problems that stem from obesity as well. According to Hung-Yen Lin, “Obese and overweight people have a higher risk of both chronic physical illness and mental illness.” (Lin) Lin and associates performed showing correlation between obesity and mental illnesses, and found that 42 percent of those with obesity were affected by at least one mental illness. (Lin) The most popular types of illnesses among people with obesity are general anxiety disorder, binge eating disorder, major depressive disorder, sleep disorder, bulimia nervosa and more. (Lin) These disorders shown are primarily mood disorders which can have a great effect on the way a student behaves toward their peers and can create social divides between them and their classmates when they enter school. Also, these...
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