Childhood Obesity

Topics: Obesity, Nutrition, Public health Pages: 7 (2279 words) Published: April 9, 2007
Obesity among Our Children
Childhood obesity is an ongoing epidemic that is plaguing adults and children alike. But it is affecting our children in a way that we cannot explain. Medically there is a cure for obesity. But everyone has to play there part if we are to rid this disease from our society. We have to gain information and awareness in order to defeat this disease. Defining and diagnosing obesity can vary greatly within the medical field. "A condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body" is the official definition of obesity (Britannica Online, [nd]. But according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics (2004), obesity means "an excess amount of subcutaneous body fat in proportion to lean body mass." There are many ways physicians and dieticians use to measure obesity. One way is called BMI or Body Mass Index. According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics (2004), the meaning of BMI or Body Mass Index is, "An indirect measure of body fat calculated as the ratio of a person's body weight in kilograms to the square of a person's height in meters. BMI (kg/m") = weight (kilograms) ÷ height (meters)"

In children and youth, BMI is based on growth charts for age and gender and is referred to as BMI-for-age, which his used to assess underweight, overweight, and risk for overweight." The BMI growth charts for children are what pediatricians use to provide national percentile results for the parents. This particular chart is based on height and weight but graph information to make it easier for the parents to understand the child's growth. Another measuring tool is triceps and sub scapular skin fold values. We know exactly what an obese child looks like with our sight, but we cannot officially tell exactly unless the child's BMI is measured. But being that obesity is growing out of proportion in children as well as in adults, we have a responsibility to that child to help him or her in every way that we can. It is a growing question in our mind that we ask ourselves everyday as to why our children are obese. Understanding the Causes and Problems of Obesity in Children According to Konner (2005) he states that, "Since 1971, the proportion of overweight children has more than doubled for children ages 6-11 years and more than tripled for children ages 12-19 years." Obesity can extend to a lot of different causes in children. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academics has come out with a table that shows a lot of different causes that deal with obesity in children such as Physical, Emotional and Social Health in children and Youth. Here is an example of the table of the medical causes: Physical Health

ľGlucose intolerance and insulin resistance
ľType 2 diabetes
ľHepatic steatosis
ľSleep apnea
ľMenstrual abnormalities
ľImpaired balance
ľOrthopedic problems
Emotional Health
ľLow self-esteem
ľNegative body image
Social Health
ľNegative stereotyping
ľTeasing and bullying
ľSocial marginalization
There are many causes of obesity and the depth of the problem is of large concern. But initially the same causes of obesity for adults were not the same causes in children. But now medical and scientific studies show how those same causes for obesity in adults are typically the same exact causes for obesity in children. The Institute of Medicine of the National Academics states that medical causes are not the only way to lead to childhood obesity. The environment is a cause of obesity in children according to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academics (2004), "...urban and suburban designs that discourage walking and other physical activities; pressures on families to minimize food costs, acquisition and preparation time, resulting in frequent consumption of convenience foods that are...

References: Institute of Medicine of the National Academics, (2004). Preventing Childhood Obesity:
Health in the Balance. Retrieved March 11, 2007, from
KidSource, (2007). Childhood Obesity. Retrieved March 11, 2007, from
Konner, M., ( 2005). The fat and the fire. The American Prospect. Retrieved
March 12, 2007, from Infotrac OneFile database.
Torgan, C., Ph. D. (2002). Childhood Obesity on the Rise. The National Institutes of
Health: Word on the Health. Retrieved March12 2007, from
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