Essay Paper-Childhood Obesity

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A Growing Epidemic: Childhood Obesity
LaToya N Jorden
Instructor Ludvigsen
[ November 19, 2012 ]

Obesity is on the rise amongst children in America. The potential consequences of childhood obesity, such as increased risk for depression, poor body image, and an array of serious diseases are cause for great concern. By using research, I will find data that shows this topic is a real problem on the rise. Obesity now affects 17% of all children and adolescents in the United States-triple the rate from just one generation ago. Childhood obesity is the result of eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activities. I chose this topic because I find it interesting, but also because it is such a popular subject with America. First lady Obama has opened up a wealth of information about this disease. She has even started programs to help the situation. I plan to use statistics from surveys, government data, and information from various healthcare resources to prove my point. In my paper I plan to argue about the overall health of children, stating that obesity in children promotes diseases and health conditions including cancers, especially in young children under 12 years of age.

Preventing obesity during childhood is critical, because habits formed during youth frequently carry into adulthood. We are in danger of raising the first generation of American children who will live sicker and die younger than generations before them. Obesity only makes matters worse. Obesity provides a 60% increased risk of newly diagnosed asthma among children. Obese children are at a higher risk for psychosocial problems, fatty liver, orthopedic-related problems and sleep apnea. Childhood obesity has also corresponded with the rise of type II diabetes in children. In a population-based sample of 5 to 17 year olds 7% of non-obese children had at least 1 cardiovascular disease risk factor while 39% of obese children had two or more risk factors. Linked to these statistics is the fact that one in three children born in the United States five years ago are expected to become diabetic in their lifetime.

Cardiovascular disease or conditions that affect the arteries and heart are a major risk factor for obese children. According to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention research shows that up to 70 percent of youth ages 5 to 17 have a cardiovascular condition, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and difficulty tolerating glucose. Concerning statistics suggests that obesity accounts for 5% of heart attacks and stroke, 20% of hypertension, and 30% of all cancers, and 80% of type 2 diabetes. Teenagers entering adulthood of a BMI of 40 or greater will have their life expectancy reduced by 13% for males and 8% for females.

The effects of obesity on cardiovascular health and disease are many and well known; one of the most profound is hypertension. Risk estimates from popular studies suggests, that greater than 75% of hypertension can be directly attributed to obesity. It is well documented that blood pressure increases with weight gain and obesity and decreases with weight loss. In addition there is increasing evidence that obesity may provide the impetus for sympathetic nervous system activation as well as changes in renal structure and function.

Obesity has a strong effect on metabolism regardless of ethnic background. Increased weight is a determinate of higher cholesterol levels. Further research in this area can help predict what or identify what mechanisms are involved in the changes that obesity has on metabolism and cholesterol levels.

Type II or adult-onset diabetes, is a common complication of childhood obesity that involves insulin difficulties. According to the CDC type II diabetes, though common among obese adults, has only recently begun to rise in children and adolescents. In addition, type II diabetes puts a child at heightened risk for advanced complications such as...
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