“Obesity is a disease in which a person is at increased risk of unfavorable health outcomes as a result of excess body fat” (Perpich, Russ, Rizzolo, & Sedrak, 2011, p. 31) Obesity can be measured by performing a body mass index test, which measures the excess fat of a person. As humans, body sizes vary in shape and size, but the weight of a child should be proportionate with their height (Perpich et al., 2011). Children are considered obese when their weight is approximately 20% more then what it should be based on their age (Perpich et al., 2011). Being obese can have a negative impact on the health of a child and lead to many long term complications that could have been prevented.
Society has a major role in childhood obesity. One of the reasons for this is that obesity is not viewed as a disease in the eyes of most people because it is not considered a communicable disease in the medical world. Children and their families do not see the harmful effects that obesity may cause. There are four main causes of obesity in children: lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating, hormonal issues, and acquired medical conditions (Liu, Zhang, & Li, 2012). Children in today’s society spend their time watching TV, sleeping, playing video games, and playing on the computer. All of these activities can lead to a higher Body Mass Index (BMI) which is the measurement of excess fat that leads to obesity (Liu, Zhang, & Li, 2012). Living in a fast-paced world, many families depend heavily on fast food. Often, parents feel that they do not have the time, energy, or the money to cook a healthy dinner. Instead, they will run to the nearest fast food restaurant to feed their family. When children do not get the proper nutrition they need, such as vegetables and fruit, their bodies are not able to get the nutrients and vitamins it needs. Lack of the proper nutrients can cause obesity and other health problems (Zheng et al., 2013). Hormonal issues can also be a risk factor for obesity. Leptin, ghrelin, insulin, cortisal, and growth hormone all have an effect on weight and can lead to obesity in children (Liu et al., 2012). In addition to lifestyle choices, acquired medical conditions may also play a role in developing obesity. Such diseases include: diabetes, thyroid disorders, pseudohypothyroidism, Cushing syndrome, CNS disorders, chemotherapy, and genetic makeup (Perpich et al., 2011). Risk factors of obesity coincide with causes of obesity, however, there are certain risk factors that may not be the cause but can contribute to developing obesity. Age, ethnicity, socioeconomic level, and gender are some of these risk factors.
According to the CDC 1 in 8 children are considered obese in...