Childhood obesity has become one of the most serious challenges in the 21st century both within and outside the United States of America. It is estimated that forty three million preschool children below the age of five years were overweight 2010 (World Health Organization. (2012). this represents a sixty percent increase since 1990 and thus urgent steps need to be taken to address the problem. The problem is more common in rich countries than poor countries, and by sheer numbers, places the greatest burden on the poorest: It is estimated that by 2020, if the current epidemic continues unabated, nine percent of all preschoolers will be overweight or obese-nearly sixty million children in the whole world. The increase in the number of overweight children in the US is disturbing and thus requires urgent measures to control the problem. This essay analyzes obesity in children by looking at the cause and how the problem can be treated.
In the developed countries, the prevalence rate is very high reaching its epidemic level compared to developing countries, however there is a steady increase in prevalence rate of obesity in children countries that are developing. Childhood obesity is a factor that contributes to diabetes and other diseases that affect children and adults. The condition also contributes to heart diseases for the reason that they both begin in childhood. Owing to inherent hormonal difference, the males are less likely to be obese as compared to females. Greater risk for systolic blood pressure, cholesterol and plasma insulin is also elevated by excess weight in children. The number of obese children has tripled and it is now estimated to be five children in the US which represents seventeen percent of the total number of children in USA. The number of obese children is higher among certain populations, for instance there are certain groups of people who are more likely to have obese children than others. For instance, the Hispanics have a higher percentage of obese children as compared to the Africans. This may be as a result of the differences in the eating habits of children from the two groups. More children are becoming obese; in addition, overweight or obese preschoolers are five times more likely than normal-weight children in the modern society. As more children become obese across the world, various organizations are taking steps to ensure that the problem is checked. The organizations are first carrying out a research on the cause of obesity and how it can be prevented.
The world health organization recognizes the increase in obese children in the modern society is as a result of the changing in the eating habits of the young one. Different people in the society need to work together to get a lasting solution for the problem which has become more endemic that other diseases that affect children. Parents should thus ensure that their children are brought up in an environment that allows them to have some physical activities that can help them to burn out the excess energy that is gotten from the snacks that they eat.Childhood Obesity is threat to the well being of the young ones in number of countries with no exception of the US and it is replacing more traditional problems that were common in the recent years like malnutrition. The traditional problems that were common in children, for instance, under nutrition and infectious diseases as the most significant causes of ill-health.
Causes of obesity in children
There is variety of reasons and causes that make children become obese and overweight, we cannot talk of any causes of this world epidemic without stating the society as number one contributor to obesity in childhood, how the society is living leads the path to how the children are brought up. There are major changes in the society making people less active but eating more, for instance, we do not prepare food at home and the cost has gone down, the marketing of energy dense foods has increased hence making them more available, the society no longer walk because there is use of car and the implementation of physical education lessons is very poor or it has reduced. The modern gadgets that children use to play computer games are also contributing to the problem. Nowadays, children sit more hours than they walk unlike long time ago when children could engage in games which required them to use energy like playing football.
Having put society as a major factor, with it comes the combination of genetics factors, unhealthy eating patterns and lack of physical activity. In the families, which have history of obesity can be considered but not all children will become overweight unless there are shared characteristics or family practices such as poor activity and eating habits. In addition, the time meals are taken in a family can influence the amount and the type of meals consumed and the physical activity of a child. Also, having a mother who is overweight and probably single is associated with childhood obesity and overweight. Family factors also play a crucial role in determining the health of a child because children inherit genes from their parents. The number of inactive hours has increased in a child, spending all the time watching television, computer games hence the level of activity and diet becomes a factor to play a role in a child’s weight. It is approximated that an average child could spend close to four hours on video games, computers and watching television. One of the uncivilized factors contributing to obesity is social cultural factor where the society controls others, reward and socializes by use of food hence establishing unhealthy relationship between food and children.
Less healthy food
Sugary drinks are all sweetened beverages not limited to soda and Juice. Studies reveal that there is big link between sugary drink intake and weight, confirming it to be a contributing factor to obesity. Sugary drink is consumed faster than food because of less filling hence higher caloric consumption. In 1998 it was confirmed that sugary drinks increased BMI in children aged between 9- 14 by a small amount. The caloric intake is also high in snack foods such as candy, chips and baked goods which is a possible factor contributing to overweight. Most schools in the US some business people to advertise their food which are less health to children which have an impact on the student’s choices of the foods they eat. The advertisements portray some non healthy foods with a high percentage of calories as fit for consumption especially for children. The glorification of the less healthy foods by the media makes children want to experiment by eating buying and eating the foods even without the permission of their parents and those people who have been tasked of taking care of them like teachers. The media exposes young children to foods which are not good for their health thus glorifying them. Changes in the types of foods that children are exposed to is a major cause of obesity in children. Children eat foods that are less healthy and have high sugar content which is not good for their healthy growth (Lobstein, Baur &Uauy, 2004). The change in the world food economy which is accompanied by less physical activity as a result of the modern dynamics is a great contributor to obesity in children.
Lack of physical activity
Children who have less physical activities in their childhood are likely to be obese. The gadgets keep children so idle and deny them the opportunity to socialize and walk for some time. The reliance on cars instead of walking from one place to another has denied the children the opportunity to exercise. The environment in which a child is brought up can also contribute to obesity. The advancement in technology has led to the emergence of mobile gadgets like tablets that have been embraced by the young ones. Children sit behind computers for hours when playing computer games and thus have less physical activities. The phase out of activities which demand the use of some energy like walking to school has contributed to obesity in children. Children are ferried to school using vehicles which have come as a result of modern technology. Children rarely walk to burn out the energy that they get from snacks because they are picked from the door of their houses and dropped to school and picked again from the school compound in the evening.
Depression and anxiety
The psychological factor of obesity is characterized by depression and anxiety although the relationship is unidirectional and is subject to debate, the relationship can also be a consequence and a cause of obesity. This is fact in obese adolescents where eating disturbances occurred due to anxiety and depression as they go through rapid biological changes in their body. There is a significant increase in BMI in relation to symptoms of depression and anxiety as it has been revealed by experts who have carried out research. Some conditions depression also greatly contributes to obesity of children because children who are depressed engage in less physical activities.
In addition to above psychological factor, research findings indicate self-esteem is associated to obese in children. It could also act as a consequence because there is a mixed reaction among researchers and scholars but in global literature there is some consensus that this factor could be true where these children are very vulnerable.
Body satisfaction is lower in females than in males at all ages according to research. While male children are encouraged to muscular and lean the female counterparts are encouraged to uphold thinness has the only westernized culture of beauty thus the linear relationship between increased BMI and body dissatisfaction. As the teenagers watch over the fashion the develop eating disorders which the traits are associated to obese populations, girls in particular have high prevalence of pathology related to eating, the world health organization recommended the weight for age and height in children. The three parameters age, height and weight are simultaneously considered in the weight for height indices hence predicts children deposit. Body mass index increases rapidly in the first year of life and at the age of 6 years it reaches minimum thus constant increase to the end of growth. During growth, the development of BMI and body deposits like folds of skin is parallel.
Prevention of Obesity in children
The problem of obesity in children can be preventing if appropriate steps are taken at a tender age to address the problem before it reaches alarming levels. Prevention of obesity begins by identifying a adiposity at risk before high levels are reached; the absolute fat levels are reflected by observing keenly the AR age which later predicts fatness hence clear understanding of BMI pattern change in an individual. In relation to early childhood protein intake, secular trends and sedentary similar BMI patterns can be observed. Importance of nutritional adequacy status at early age and adoption of necessary nutritional intake as the child grows is stressed by the observations. Approach to metabolic diseases and obesity origin investigation is suggested plotted by the BMI patterns and various environmental conditions record. Following a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent overweight and obesity, lifestyle habits begin during childhood and thus parents and families should encourage their children to make healthy choices, such as following a healthy diet and being physically active. Parents should also ensure that the meals that their children take are health and free from things that make their children to be vulnerable to obesity.
Obesity can also be prevented by avoiding foods that are high in “energy density” or that have a lot of calories in a small amount of food. For example, a large cheeseburger and a large order of fries may have almost one thousand calories and thirty or more grams of fat. By ordering a grilled chicken sandwich or a plain hamburger and a small salad, you can avoid hundreds of calories and eliminate much of the fat intake, for dessert, have fruit or a piece of angel food cake rather than the “death by chocolate” special or three pieces of home-made pie.
To prevent obesity, parents should direct their children to aim for an average of forty minutes or more of moderate to intense physical activity three to four days each week. There is compelling scientific evidence that increased levels of physical activity can bring wide-ranging health benefits which can extend beyond physical health to include other positive impacts relating to mental health and personal development. Participation rates in organized sport have been shown to be lower in females and to decline with age, and are reduced in lowers socio-economic and minority groups, including people from non-English speaking and Indigenous backgrounds. This review aims to determine the most effective interventions that sporting organizations can use to increase people’s participation.
Although we cannot fully understand the mechanism development of obesity hence it cannot be addressed by a single etiology but is confirmed that obesity is caused or occurs when energy intake exceeds the expenditure of the said energy. The environments in which the children are brought up seem to have high percentage in the rising of prevalence of obesity worldwide. The society can slow this growing issue by focusing on the causes. The choice of life style is squarely with parents because there are so many components that play into childhood obesity. To influence other factors like environmental the intervention begins with parents enforcing healthier lifestyle at home, exercising and right nutritional choices will finally change the outcome of other aspects in the children’s life leading to healthier society and reduction of childhood obesity. Parents should always control the eating habits of their children and look at what they eat. Children can not know the side effects of the foods they are eating unless they are taught by their parents on healthy eating habits.
Effects of obesity
Obesity in children has a negative impact on their physical wellbeing of children as well as self-esteem, social, emotional and health among other factors. Obesity also affects the academic performance of children and lowers their quality of life experiences. These potential negative effects are further examined in the following areas. Numerous medical conditions have been linked to childhood obesity because of the impacts that the problem has on young children. These conditions are prevalent in children who are obese although most them associated to obesity are preventable and can disappear when a child reaches a healthy weight. Death cans even result in the worst cases, from some of these health conditions. The conditions that are associated with obesity can disappear in children when they grow up if urgent steps are taken to address the problem at a tender age. In addition obesity has been revealed to be one of the most stigmatizing and not socially acceptable conditions and overweight children bullied and/or teased, therefore Socio‑emotional consequences is realized and discrimination has been found in children aged 2 years old excluded from activities that require physical activity. This is because obese children tend not be as fast as their peers and contend with breathing shortness.
The social effects of obesity may contribute to continuing uncooperative in weight management. Children who are overweight tend to guard themselves from negative comments and attitudes by pulling back to safe places, such as their homes, where they may find food a good thing that they use to comfort themselves. Moreover, children who are obese have a lower degree of social interaction and play as mentioned before, children who are obese get shortness of breath and often have a hard time keeping up with their peers which in turn results in weight gain, as the number of calories consumed exceeds the amount of energy used.
Effects in Academic Performance
Obese children have also been found to performing very weak in school. A research study finalized that overweight and obese children were four times more likely to report having
They are also more likely to be absent in school more frequently, especially those with prolonged health conditions such as diabetes and asthma, which can also alter academic performance.
Childhood obesity has many negative implications to the well being of a person. Childhood obesity is linked to many ill health conditions in the lifetime of a child. A child who suffers from obesity when growing up is likely to have many complications in his teenage hood, for instance, heart disease. Childhood obesity is associated with many diseases like hypertension that may affect a person in adulthood (Fitch, Fox, Bauerly, Heim, Judge-Dietz & Kaufman, 2013).
The prevalence of childhood obesity in children has increased over the past few decades in the United States and other countries. Obesity in children and in adolescents is associated with eating disorders which are the third most common chronic condition in adolescents, after obesity and asthma. Most adolescents who develop eating disorders did not have obesity previously, but some adolescents may misinterpret what “healthy eating” is and engage in unhealthy behaviors, such as skipping meals or using fad diets in an attempt to “be healthier,” the result of which could be the development of an eating disorder. Obese children are more likely to have low self-esteem and being obese as a child or adolescent increases the risk of a range of diseases and disorders in adulthood. It’s important to identify and start to reverse the condition before children become adults. Many factors in the environment have a great influence on the eating behavior and activity levels of children both in the US and other countries across the globe. Whatever actions that those who have a stake in the well being of children take, the time for focused multidisciplinary action is now. The problem is urgent and thus urgent steps need to be taken to mitigate the problem so as to protect the future generation from diseases and conditions that could be prevented. The current epidemic of childhood obesity should be immediately addressed because if left unchecked, it may result in today’s children having shorter and less healthy lives than their parents. If urgent measures are not taken, the number of children who are affected by obesity is likely to double in the next one decade.
Fitch, A., Fox, C., Bauerly, K., Heim, C., Judge-Dietz, J., & Kaufman, T. (2013). Prevention and management of obesity for children and adolescents. Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement https:// www. Icsi. Org/_asset/tn5cd5/ObesityChildhood. Pdf.
Lobstein, T., Baur, L., & Uauy, R. (2004). Obesity in children and young people: a crisis in public health. Obesity reviews, 5(s1), 4-85.
Rudolf, M. (2016). Tackling obesity through the healthy child programme: a framework for action. Lancet.
World Health Organization. (2012). Population-based approaches to childhood obesity prevention.