Obesity in Children
As we know obesity and overweight among children are a significant health problem among the United States. Obesity means having too much body fat. It is not the same as overweight which means weighing too much. A person may be overweight from extra muscle, bone, or water, as well as too much fat. Both terms mean your weight is higher than what is thought to be healthy for your height. Being overweight during childhood and adolescence increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory problems, orthopedic problems, depression and diabetes type 2 as a youth. All these conditions are linked to obesity and overweight and it has increased tremendously in children and adolescents, particularly in: -American Indian
-African American and
Looking at the long term consequences, overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight or obese adults, which increases to 80% if one or more parent is overweight or obese. In 2000 the total cost of obesity for children as adults in the United States was estimated to be $117 billion which is $61 billion dollars in direct medical costs. Understanding the causes of childhood obesity can provide the opportunity to focus resources, interventions, and research in directions that would be most beneficial in addressing the problem. When children eat more than they need, their bodies store the extra calories in fat cells to use for energy later. If this pattern continues over time, and their bodies do not need this stored energy, they develop more fat cells and may develop obesity. Overweight in children and adolescents are also caused by a lack of physical activity. Physical inactivity and sedentary behaviors have contributed to children’s obesity now days. Watching television, using the computer, texting and playing video games occupy a large percentage of children’s leisure time and require very little energy, influencing...