Childhood Obesity In New Zealand Essay

2634 words - 11 pages

Childhood obesity is a growing problem not only in New Zealand but worldwide. This is due to many factors and has many effects on society. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) of greater than 30. BMI is a measure of your weight divided by your height, the normal range is considered to be from 18 to 25 and over 30 is said to be obese. BMI became an international standard for obesity measurement in the 1980s (S.Wilson, 2000). Obesity is not just a modern day problem, Ancient Egyptians are said to consider obesity as a disease, having been drawn in a wall of depicted illnesses. Perhaps the most famous and earliest evidence of obesity is the Venus figurines, statuettes of an obese female torso that probably had a major role in rituals. Ancient China has also been aware of obesity and the dangers that come with it. They have always been a believer of prevention as a key to longevity (L.Dobbins, Dec 2007). Obesity is considered to be a problem because it is a risk factor for many chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes. The New Zealand health strategy has two objectives that relate directly to obesity, to improve nutrition and to increase physical activity (Reuters, Feb. 15 2008). Experts and the media are feeding us with information on this ‘,obesity epidemic’, but is there actually a problem? An epidemic is the occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community or region during a given time period. According to New Zealand Herald 95% of parents considered the number of overweight and obese children to be a significant problem. In other words there is sufficient evidence to say we do have an obesity epidemic on our hands.

Our children are among the fattest in the world. The national children’,s nutrition survey found that nearly one third of New Zealand’,s children are overweight or obese which equates to 21% overweight and 10% obese. Pacific Island children are the heaviest with over 60% either overweight or obese. This problem is not just in one part of the country but all over, A study in Auckland children aged between 5-11 years found that 14% were obese, One in four Pacific Island children were obese, making then one of the fattest groups in the world. A 2001 study in Christchurch showed that children from 10-14 years had increased in weight from 1991 to 2000. Also in Dunedin nearly 25% of teenagers are overweight or obese. (FOE, 2005).Being overweight increases the risk of premature illness and sometimes death. Obesity is linked to type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers. Type 2 diabetes is increasingly common in teenagers who have been obese for a few years. People who suffer from type 2 diabetes may develop kidney failure, loss of vision and hip and joint problems. The link between type 2 diabetes and obesity is so strong, the term "diabesity" has been coined. Other research has found that being fat is a risk factor in children falling over and breaking weak...

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