Childhood Obesity

Topics: Epidemiology, Public health, Obesity Pages: 7 (2276 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Obesity is the accumulation and storage of excessive fat in the body. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Obesity is any weight that is bigger than what is typically considered healthy for a given height. (CDC, 2009). The imbalance between caloric consumption and expenditure is what causes obesity in children and adults. There are factors that affect obesity. Such factors are biological, behavioral, and environmental in nature. When more calories than the body is required is taken, the body stores the excess calorie in form of fat resulting in obesity. There are daily media reporting on obesity in Los Angeles county and nationwide. Health experts utilize mass media to provide information, training and encouragement to the need to live healthy lifestyle in other to eradicate obesity. Undoubtedly, the greater concern is on the vulnerable school age children. In one annual report from by Los Angeles County (LAC) Department of Public Health (2007), the researchers found that childhood obesity is both a national and local crises. According to the report, “Nationally, obesity rates among children have tripled since the late 1970’s, and in Los Angeles County, more than 1 in 5 students in the fifth, seventh, and ninth grades are now obese, and this continuing epidemic of childhood obesity is jeopardizing the future health and well being of our children.” Obesity poses serious health concern for the children. The physiological and mental impact on children is enormous. For example, children are among the most vulnerable population to suffer the effect of obesity such as low self-esteem, depression, to develop diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and other chronic conditions such as asthma, orthopedic problems, liver problems, and breathing problems during sleep due obesity. (LAC Department of Public Health, 2007). In addition, another source also remarked that childhood obesity is for the most part troubling because the extra calories often expose the children to health problems that were once confined to adults (, 2010). This paper will not only define and describe epidemiology, but will also discuss the following; steps and methods of epidemiology, epidemiological triangle, type of epidemiology used, as well as description of the relationship of the disease to various levels of prevention, as related to childhood obesity. In the past, the term epidemiology is used to refer to the spread of diseases that were primarily infectious in origin, but now its definition and scope have broadened and now include, chronic diseases, mental, occupational, environmental, and other health-related events (Stanhope & Lancaster, 2008). Epidemiology can therefore be defined as study of patterns of disease and illness in human populations and application use of this study to control health problems (Association of Schools of Public Health [ASPH], 2007). It is also known as the science of public health because it studies the distribution of health related s states and illnesses and associated factors at the population level. The study can be effectively used to control and manage diseases that affect the overall population. A variety of methods can be used to carry out epidemiological investigations: Such methods as surveillance and descriptive studies can be used to study distribution. While analytical studies are used to analyze determinants. The two main methods that can be used to carry out epidemiological research are descriptive studies and analytical studies. A descriptive study describes characteristics of group of people who suffer or does not suffer certain illnesses, and also revealing those who are at risk of developing the illness. Conversely, analytical epidemiology focuses on the determinant of health problems, and tends to establish why and how the conditions occur. However, to differentiate between the two will be difficult because analytic studies rely on descriptive comparisons, and...

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