Childhood Obesity- Public Health Crisis Report

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Childhood Obesity- Public Health Crisis Report

Word Limit: 3000words
Word Count:3,223

Table of Contents
1.Introduction and definition of key terms3
2.Assessment of Obesity5
2.1Body fat: direct measures and derived estimates5
2.2Anthropometric measures of relative fatness5
2.3Weight for Height8
2.4Body Mass Index (BMI)8
3.The Causes of Childhood Obesity10
3.1Normal energy requirements10
3.2Genetic, familial and gene-environment interactions12
3.3Diet13
4.Consequences of Obesity-physical, psycho-social and economic14 4.1Physical health consequences14
4.2Psychological and social consequences15
4.3The economic costs of obesity in childhood16
5.Prevention and Government Schemes17
5.2 Change4Life convenience stores18
5.3 National Child Measurement Programme18
5.4 Advertising and marketing of food to children18
5.5 Childhood Obesity National Support Team19
6.Conclusion19
7.Bibliography20

1.Introduction and definition of key terms

Childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of the 21st century. The problem is global and is steadily affecting many low- and middle-income countries, particularly in urban settings. The prevalence has increased at an alarming rate. Globally, in 2010 the number of overweight children under the age of five, is estimated to be over 42 million. Close to 35 million of these are living in developing countries (WHO, 2011). Figure 1 Graph Showing Increasing Number of Overweight Children around the World

Source: BBC News (2008)

Figure 2 Graph Showing Childhood Obesity in England from 2-15 years old
Source: BBC News (2008)

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (1989) defines a child as “a human being below the age of 18 years unless under the law applicable to the child, majority is attained earlier”. The World Health Organisation (2011) defines overweight and obesity as “abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to health”, the definition however is dependable on the measurement of body fatness. Therefore, childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or wellbeing. As methods to determine body fat directly are difficult, the diagnosis of obesity is often based on BMI (Body Mass Index) (Kopelman, 2005). However Bessesen (2008) states that the term overweight rather than ‘obese’ is often used in children as it is less stigmatizing. The World Health Organisation (2011) states that it is difficult to develop one simple index for the measurement of overweight and obesity in children and adolescents because their bodies undergo a number of physiological changes as they grow. Depending on the age, different methods to measure a body's healthy weight are available (WHO, 2011). The most commonly used measure for overweight and obesity is the Body Mass Index (BMI). It is defined as the weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters (kg/m2) (WHO, 2011). BMI-charts are not yet usable for children between the age of 0-5 years old, instead growth charts, weight and height and waist-to-hip circumferences used as guides (Lobstein et al, 2004).

In many countries the problem of childhood obesity is worsening at a dramatic rate. The health risks, causes and consequences such as costs to the health services, the losses to society and the burdens carried by the individuals is great. Therefore it is imperative that more is done. This report will focus attention on issue by reviewing key factors associated with childhood obesity such as how to assess body fat, the causes, the consequences and the management and treatment of an obese child.

2.Assessment of Obesity

Measurement of adiposity in children and adolescents occurs in a range of settings, using a range of methods. In this section, both direct and indirect methods for assessing and evaluating fatness are...
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