Childhood Obesity: Our Future In Our Hands
Obesity is on the rise in America with news articles and scientific reports unanimously agreeing that we are becoming the most overweight country in the world, and other developing countries are not far behind. In addition, these countries' children are now becoming as overweight as their parents and other adults. Unlike these adults, children seldom have the knowledge and control over their lifestyle to contribute to either health or obesity. The numbers that are coming out of the research on this topic are simply staggering and show that in 2010 more than one third of children and adolescents, covering an age range of 5-19, were considered obese (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2010). This is an epidemic that has been on the verge of happening for almost a decade and it has finally hit its peak and unfortunately there is no sign of it slowing down or stopping unless we as a society and parents fight for the health of our children. How do I know if a child is obese?
Before we can address the issue, we must first understand what it is that we are fighting. Obesity is a medical condition that affects both children and adults and is defined as an individual who has an excess of body fat that is carried around by the person. Most experts have determined that pediatric obesity is reached when the adolescent weighs 20% more than the healthy weight for their age or has a body fat percentage of 25% for boys and 32% for girls (eMedicineHealth, 2013). There is another method that is used to determine an individual’s health which is to determine their Body Mass Index which is then used to determine if the patient is obese. Below is a table that will allow you to figure out a BMI and if it is within a healthy range. I have included a chart in this pamphlet that will help you to determine someone’s BMI and if they are in danger of being diagnosed with this condition. What are the causes of obesity?
There are many factors that factor into a child becoming obese so pinpointing just one thing is very difficult. There are a few factors that have been pushed to the forefront as leading causes for contracting this medical condition which would be a lack of physical exercise and nutrition which are both huge factors. Each of these factors has a massive influence on childhood obesity and the longer that there is a lack of proper exercise, doctors suggest at least one hour a day, and the child not receiving a balanced nutritional diet that has all of the food groups incorporated into it, the problem will only get worse. The nutritional piece in the discussion of this disease is possibly the most important because if they are simply fed foods that will replace the calories that may be burned during exercise then we are taking two steps forward and two steps back. We need, as parents, to teach our children about nutrition and the right and wrong ways to feed our bodies so that we can conquer this as a society. Another factor that is coming more to the forefront is the genetic aspects and the implications that it could have on the child. Studies have shown that if one of the child’s parents is obese, they have a 50% chance of becoming obese themselves whereas if both the parents in the household are obese that number skyrockets to 80% (Marcus, 2013). Background Information
Although child’s weight is the primary external feature that is affected by this disease, the internal damage that is done to a developing body is almost as significant if not more so. The primary organ within the body that is being affected by this excessive weight gain is the heart which will have to work much harder to pump the same amount of blood then that of a child who is not afflicted with this condition. Studies show that childhood obesity will cause the heart muscle to thicken which would make it more difficult to pump blood through the body and this will in turn make the...
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