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Environmental Factors of Obesity

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Environmental Factors of Obesity

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  • August 2010
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Childhood obesity
Obesity has reached what some feel is epidemic proportions in this country as well as around the world. Today nearly two thirds of American adults are considered overweight or obese. Even more concerning is that 15% of children in this country are considered overweight. Just a few decades ago this number stood at 4%.

We are starting to see diseases that were contracted in adulthood now affecting children and adolescents. Children that are overweight or obese have a much higher chance of dying of heart disease when they get older. This is even affecting the youngest among us with 10% of preschoolers being overweight.

Being obese has many risk factors for children. Childhood obesity is the leading cause of pediatric hypertension. It also increases the risk of heart disease, childhood diabetes, and osteoarthritis. But the most important consequence may be what is does as far as psychological pressure and peer pressure that may cause periods of depression in a child. Social and peer pressures that a child goes through are the main consequences of childhood obesity.

The causes of childhood obesity are a combination of factors that include genetics, family history, psychological and nutritional. It is true that not all obese infants will turn into obese children and not all obese children will turn into obese adults it is important to understand these risk factors.

What role does family play? Children that are born to parents that are obese have a better chance of either being born obese or developing the condition over time. This can be related to several factors. Genetics could play a role; the parents could have a sedimentary lifestyle and does not include enough physical exercise. Or they may not have developed good nutritional habits.

A lack of activity can also cause a child to be obese. We all know that children in general are much less active than pervious generations. Children now spend more time on computers or watching...

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