Overweight and Obese Children

Topics: Obesity, Nutrition, Hypertension Pages: 7 (2201 words) Published: December 3, 2012

Overweight and Obese Children in the United States
Barbara Ripley
ENG: 122
Megan Pope
April 18, 2011


Overweight and Obese Children in the United States
Overweight and obese children are teased and often excluded from socialization with peers and other activities which cause emotional upheaval for many of them. Children grow at different rates and times, so recognizing potential problems with obesity is not easy for parents or caregivers. Overweight and obese children are a by-product of sedentary lifestyles and/or poor dietary nutrition, and if these factors continue to be ignored children will be overweight and obese throughout adulthood. The Body Mass Index (BMI) is a tool used by healthcare professionals to measure for overweight and obese children. “BMI is the most widely accepted method used to screen for overweight and obese children and adolescents because it is relatively easy to obtain the height and weight measurements needed to calculate BMI, the measurements are noninvasive and BMI correlates with body fatness.” (www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html). In children and adolescents classified as overweight the BMI is calculated as being between the 85th and 95th percentile range for same age and sex child. Obesity is defined as BMI of greater than 95th percentile in children and adolescents for the same age and sex child. Once it has been determined that the BMI is high, the family physician or other healthcare provider, may opt to measure skin-fold thickness, dietary habits and intake, physical activity, family history, and other health screenings as indicated. An evaluation for pre-existing and obesity induced medical conditions will be completed.

In this paper, the use of reliable sources, including scholarly research, statistical information from the Center of Disease Control (CDC) will be cited, and the effects of lifestyle behaviors that jeopardize the health and well-being of children and adolescents will be discussed. Through various studies there are contributing factors that have been identified as risk factors for the predisposition of children to be overweight or obese in the United States. These contributing factors are imbalances between calories consumed in food and beverage, and calories that children and adolescents need for normal growth and development, metabolism, and physical activities on a daily basis. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “children and adolescents that are overweight and/or obese will have increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes, breathing problems, trouble sleeping, emotional problems and early death.” (www.aacap.org/page.ww?name=Obesity+in+Children). Currently in the United States, children will live shorter lives than their parents if more education on healthy lifestyles and behaviors does not occur in homes, schools, and communities. Overweight and obese children and adolescents have become the leading concern for health related issues in the United States. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) published statistical date in 2009 on the number of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the United States. According to the CDC,” in the last thirty years the number of overweight and obese children has risen from 6.5% to 19.6% in 2008. It is now estimated that between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese, and less than 1% is caused by physical ailments or disease.” (wwwc.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html). Below is a graph, developed by the CDC in OVERWEIGHT AND OBESE CHILDREN4

2009, showing the percentage of children and adolescents, in the United States, that have been identified as overweight and obese: 2009 State Obesity Rates|
State| %| State| %| State| %| State| %|
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