Octavia A. Bridgeforth
June 17, 2011
The childhood obesity crisis is an epidemic that not only touches the lives of people in the United States, but it affects the lives of those all around the world. In a society where childhood obesity is a major health care concern, many do not understand the complexity of this issue whereas others just seem to ignore it. Publically it seems to fall at the wayside when it is discussed in conjunction with many of the world’s other problems. So many young children struggle with this problem as the rates of childhood obesity have increased. Childhood obesity can be defined as any child between the ages of 2 through 19 that have exceeded the 95th percentile of the Body Mass Index (BMI) in comparison of those in their peer group. BMI measures height, weight, waist circumference and skinfold to determine the amount of fat a person is storing. Today, nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese and face major health concerns in the future (Ogden, Carroll, Curtin, Lamb, & Flegal, 2010). Contributors to the obesity problem are unhealthy eating, derived from a poor diet or eating too much, not enough physical activity, and lack of information on this subject. There is not enough being done to combat this complex issue and measures have not been taken to prevent this from happening in the future. If parents are educated about what childhood obesity is, what causes it, how it causes low self-esteem, why it is such an important topic, what they can do to decrease the risk of this issue, and how this affects their children as they grow into adults, then the number of obese children will decrease in time.
There is not a single specific reason as to why childhood obesity occurs. It can stem from genetics, medical conditions, medicine taken, social behavior, mental status, environment, and demographics. For example, some medicines that are used to treat seizures can decrease the body’s ability to burn calories and medical conditions such as hypothyroidism slows down the body’s metabolism, one of the main functions needed to maintain a healthy weight. An example of a mental health condition is as a result of how people become anxious, upset, or stressed and turn to overeating for escape of their problems. Obesity can also derive from our genetic code (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2008).
Just as genes determine the color of our hair, eyes, the dimples in our cheeks, they also contribute to the amount of fat you store and where you store it. The way foods are processed and chemically altered can cause genes to mutate, altering the way children grow, process, and store products consumed. According to a study conducted by Jane Wardel, Susan Carnell, Claire Haworth and Robert Plomin(2008), there is a strong influence between obesity in children and their genes. Furthermore, it states that the onset of this epidemic has not changed the results, it only verifies that obesity is a health concern. It shows that the environment plays a small part in this health care issue but the genetic codes given to us by our family increases a child’s risk of becoming obese. It is impossible to change our genetic code; however, long term weight control and community involvement are needed to decrease obesity in children that have this high genetic risk. This can have other adverse affects as children fall victim to low self-esteem. Of the reasons given, one cause does not overshadow the other as they all can affect the livelihood of our children. Reasons listed above prove there should be great concern on any occasion; however there is an emphasis on the lack of attaining insight to and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This pivotal point of controlling a healthy lifestyle is most likely the key essential part to preventing childhood...