Childhood Obesity in the United States

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Research Proposal
Childhood Obesity in the U.S. and Texas
Diana Anzaldua
Wayland Baptist University

Introduction

Though previously not common, obesity is presently among the most extensive medical problems striking children and teenagers in the US and other industrialized countries. Approximately 15% of teenagers and children between six (6) and 11 years old are obese in the US as indicated by the American Obesity Association. Unfortunately, the numbers are projected to increase owing to the present lifestyle trends. In other words, childhood obesity stands among the greatest health challenges in the world, or at least in developed countries, and it needs to be identified early and treated effectively. Thesis

In the 21st Century, cases of childhood obesity have increased to worrying percentages in both developing and developed nations. Oftentimes, childhood obesity carries on into adulthood and is linked to several chronic illnesses. Data from governments, World Health Organization (WHO), and hospitals indicate that obesity can be severe to children and is expensive to manage; hence, there is a pressing need to prevent and treat it early.

Executive Summary

Obesity is a medical condition that involves the accumulation of excess fat in the body to the level that it may affect health adversely, and contribute to shortened lifespan and/or worsened health issues. Childhood obesity is a life-threatening medical condition that affects children as well as adolescents. Typically, the condition is evident when a child weighs more, relative to his or her height and age. Childhood obesity is especially disturbing since the extra weight often leads in other health issues in children, most of which have traditionally been associated with adults, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Besides, in all likelihood, childhood obesity can bring about depression and poor self-esteem. Obesity is due to caloric imbalance, which involves too few calories utilized compared to the amount ingested. Diverse genetic, environmental, and behavioral factors influence this condition. Since the healthy BMI value is different with sex and age of a child, it is important to note that childhood obesity has a BMI value greater than the 95th percentile. In other words, as one of the steps to preventing childhood obesity, parents and health care specialists should always monitor and manage children’s BMI. The key purpose of this study will be to establish the relevant approaches to identifying and treating childhood obesity in the United States, particularly Texas.

Problem Statement

Childhood obesity now affects 18 percent of American children and is a growing problem in the United States. According to John Mersch, M.D., in the 1970s and 1980s, approximately 5% of children were obese. By 2000, over 13% were obese, and 2010 statistics indicate pediatric obesity to be leveling off at approximately 18% of the population. The main risk factors for childhood obesity are genetics, social, cultural, diseases, medications, and psychological. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity in children can lead to psychosocial problems and to cardiovascular risk factors such as hypertension, high cholesterol, and abnormal glucose tolerance or diabetes. In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one additional cardiovascular risk factor, and 30% had two or more. These problems could eventually affect these children far into adulthood and cost billions in healthcare in order to take care of them. The state of Texas is home to three of the five U.S. cities with the highest obesity rates in the nation. The state's weight problem is especially bad among kids. Fast food restaurants and availability to convenience stores only help make the problem grow. Many parents will...
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