Problem with Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in the United States. As a result, children are at increased risk for myriad preventable acute and chronic medical problems. Many of which are associated with increased morbidity and mortality. In addition, childhood obesity has serious psychosocial consequences, such as low self-esteem, lower quality of life, and depression (KidsHealth). Many social and environmental factors have negatively influenced the physical activity and eating behaviors of US children and adolescents. Financial and time pressures force many families to minimize food costs and meal preparation time, resulting in increased consumption of prepackaged convenience foods that are high in calories and fat (Children's Health). In fact, fast-food restaurants are often around neighborhoods containing schools and therefore they have young customers (Obesity Action Coalition). Children are also the targets of junk food advertisements. As a result of these and many other factors, childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions. Since the 1970s, the rate of obesity has more than doubled among US children aged between 2 to 5 years (KidsHealth). Meanwhile, the number of obese children has tripled among youth aged between 6 to 11 years and doubled among those aged 12 to 16 years (CDC). According to the Institute of Medicine, more than 9 million children and young adults older than 6 years are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity increases the risk of multiple acute and chronic medical problems as well as psychological issues, all of which can persist into adulthood and adversely affect quality of life (KidsHealth). Obese children can suffer from orthopedic complications, including abnormal bone growth, degenerative disease, and pain. They are also more likely to have low self-esteem, leading to depression and suicidal ideation, and to engage in substance abuse. One study suggested that obese children might have a...
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