By Sally Romero
Childhood obesity is caused by gaining too much weight as the result of consuming more calories than is burned from the body. Calories that is not used becomes body fat. Obesity in children is quickly becoming a major epidemic problem. There is increasing concern regarding the growing trend of children who are overweight. Childhood obesity is becoming a huge concern in public health because of the rise in health insurance, due to the many medical conditions which occur from being overweight.
Causes of childhood obesity
Today, many kids have mothers who work outside of the home. Left unsupervised, many children are overeating and making unhealthy dietary choices when consuming food. They drinks tons of sodas and juices which is loaded with too much sugar. They eat an over-abundance of junk food which is high in fat and calories. Physical activity is minimal, because children are not allowed to go outside unsupervised, after school. Once their school day is finish, children spend the majority of their time playing video games, watching television and socializing on the computer and the phone. All these activities make up a very sedentary lifestyle, which does not speed up the metabolism and burn calories.
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is used to calculate obesity in children. According to the Center for Disease Control, a child with a BMI which is over the 95th percentile is defined as obese. BMI is measured by calculating the ratio of height divided by weight to determine acceptable amounts of body fat. Obesity in children can be contributed to family genetics, but most often, obesity is the result of overeating and lack of physical activity. In some cases, obesity can be cause by a chemical or a hormonal imbalance in the body. In rare cases, the inability of the brain appetite control centre to function correctly in controlling the appetite is the cause of obesity.
The effects of childhood obesity
In today’s society, being slim is a valuable asset and being overweight is frowned upon by many people. Children who are overweight may suffer from ridicule and teasing from their peers, leading them to have a low self -esteem and suffer from depression. Having to deal with social discrimination, isolation, and loneliness can help contribute to overeating. Children who are obese are more at risk for developing cardio-vascular disease, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In recent years, Type 2 diabetes has become a major concern in the health care field, because of the increase in adolescents who developed this disease. In certain minority groups, there has been a significant increase in Type 2 diabetes due to obesity in children. Studies have shown that 25% of overweight adults were obese in their childhood. Obesity in children has a negative impact on their life expectancy.
Preventing childhood obesity
Parents should implement tools early on in a child’s life to prevent them from being overweight, especially if there is a family history of obesity. Behavior that caused children to be overweight should be targeted and changed. Children should consume nutritional and healthy foods, while increasing their physical activities. Parents should spend more time with their children and educate them about adopting a healthier lifestyle. They should be a role model and set a positive example by consuming healthy food and being more active. Changing to a healthier lifestyle can make a tremendous impact on childhood obesity, and prevent children from becoming overweight adults.