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Childhood Obesity An Epidemic Essay

1840 words - 8 pages

Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States resulting in medical illnesses and shortened life span, action needs to be taken to eat a healthy diet and incorporate exercise into daily life. Among children today, obesity is causing a wide range of health problems that in the past were not seen until adulthood. These include heart disease, respiratory disease, bone fractures and diabetes. There are also psychological effects; obese children are more likely to have low self-esteem, negative body image, eating disorders and depression. Excess weight at a young age has tracked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood. This paper will pinpoint strategies to use to help decrease the incidence of obesity
Maintaining a healthy weight as well as general health and wellbeing requires eating a balanced nutritious diet and engaging in physical activity. In today’s society, children and adolescents are less likely to eat healthy and participate in physical exercise because of modern conveniences like the computer, cars and fast food. Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years (http://www.cdc.gov/healthyouth/obesity/fcats.htm). From 1980 to 2004 the percentage of youth who were obese tripled from 7% to 19% in children (6-11 years) and 5% to 17% in adolescents (12-19 years) (“Nihiser”). Approximately one out of every five children in the U.S. is overweight or obese, and this number continues to increase. (http://www.webmd.com/children/guide/obesity-children?print=true). Childhood obesity has both direct and lasting effects on health and well-being. The immediate health effects of obese youth are that they are more likely to develop risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. One in three children undergoing routine lipid screening in primary-care pediatric clinics have cholesterol level considered high or borderline high http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/822662. Obese children are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood sugar levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes. Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems. http://www.cdc.gov/healthyouth/obesity/fcats.htm). They are also more prone to develop stress, sadness, social and psychological problems and low self-esteem (http://webmd.com/children/guide/obesity-children?print=true). Obese children can be targets of early social discrimination. The stress of social ridicule can cause low self-esteem which in turn can deter academic and socialization and continues into adulthood. An obese child can be at higher risk for adult health problems like heart disease, stroke, cancer and osteoarthritis in future generations(http://www.cdc.gov/healthyouth/obesity/fcats.htm). A fit lifestyle, including healthy eating and physical activity can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing diseases. ...

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