Obesity

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It is a scary feeling when climbing a simple flight of stairs only to reach the top and be completely out of breath. In America today this is the reality that many children face. Obesity has become an epidemic in America, it has many contributing factors, and affects learning abilities but there are preventive manners for it. Although little is being done about obesity, its negative effect on children is caused by multitude of factors. The rising numbers of obese children has reached an alarming rate. With many Americans, “…‘obesity’…carries the connotation of being extremely overweight. [But] health professionals define overweight as an excess amount of body weight that includes muscle, bone, fat and water; whereas obesity is specifically defined as an excess amount of body fat” (Andrews 1). More often than not, people tend to switch these definitions and have the false pretenses that being obese includes all your body weight and that being overweight is having too much body fat. Although there are many health threats in the world today, “…childhood obesity (is) one of the leading health threats in the United States” (2). Even the statistics show that obesity is becoming an epidemic. In fact, “[s]ince the 1970s, the prevalence of obesity has more than doubled for preschool children and adolescents and more than tripled for school-aged children” (1). The increasing rate of obese children should cause health officials to step in and do something about this epidemic. Through tests and observations, it has been found that obesity can be caused by other factors other than diet. Many scientists “…believe there are other causes for the obesity epidemic besides too many French fries…” (Belluz 1). Eating habits can contribute to obesity but they are not the only factor playing into the bigger picture. For instance, “[p]ollutants, like DDE, are believed to alter or block the activity of natural female and male sex hormones, causing fat to store more efficiently, and spurring the creation of fat cells where cartilage or bone would have been” (1). If the pollutants are altering body cells, certain parts of the body may not grow properly and more fat could produce where it does not belong. When these “…chemicals [are present] in the mom’s blood, such as DDE (a by-product of the now widely banned pesticide DDT, which lingers in the environment decades later, and is still found in small amounts in many foods such as meat, dairy, and fish)” can alter the development of the fetus and cause problems later in life (1). The children of mothers who had this chemical in their blood while pregnant are even more at risk for obesity without even having bad eating habits. Monitoring what food is consumed during pregnancy and throughout life will greatly help the chances of having body cells not be altered. Children's learning ability and overall health can be affected by them being overweight or obese. Some of the obese and overweight "...children are developing conditions and diseases that normally would be associated with adults, such as high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, ...type 2 diabetes...occurrence of certain cancers, including colon cancer..." (Andrews 2). Along with these conditions and diseases many children are also faced with "...social discrimination" from their peers and the people around them (2). In schools "...overweight students showed 0.4 lower GPA and 11% lower national percentile reading scores... also [they] had significantly more detentions, poorer school attendance, more tardiness, and a lower participation rate on school athletic teams than their non-overweight peers" (7). This attitude of non-participation is most likely due to the fact of social discrimination from their peers and being picked on for their weight. Overweight children are taking a hard hit when it comes to health conditions, diseases and academic achievement. Among all the contributing factors, not having enough exercise can also contribute to...
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