The rise of childhood obesity!

and how to prevent it!

What is obesity?

  • Obesity is when your BMI (body mass index) is 20% or greater than a healthy range.
  • BMI is calculated by a ratio of weight to height associated with body fat.
  • It is a global epidemic that is increasing with the years. In the United States 32% of children are overweight and 11% are considered obese.
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Causes of Obesity!

  • The berk text points out that one link of obesity has to do with the parents. If a child has an obese or overweight parent their chances of becoming obese go up.
  • Some children are not educated about healthy diets and do not know the risks associated with bad eating habits. The parents play a huge role in molding their child into practicing good habits. If the parent buys and eats high fat food the child is more likely to follow in their parents foot steps and make similar food choices.
  • Some parents have a constant worry that their child is not getting enough to eat and end up over-feeding.
  • According to a survey done the best way to determine if a child has had enough to eat is if they turn away, fall asleep or push the food away. It is also stated that parents are unsure whether or not to trust their children in monitoring their own appetites.
  • Children that do not receive enough sleep at night are more likely to become overweight within the next few years. .
  • Children who are not physically active have a high risk of becoming overweight. A study from the Berk text noted that "Children who devoted more than 3 hours per day to TV accumulated 40% more fat than those devoting less than 1 and a half hours."




Consequences

  • A huge consequence of obesity is a low self-esteem. As sad as it may be appearance and social acceptance plays heavily on attractiveness.
  • Obese children may experience social isolation and have more difficulties in emotional, social and academic aspects of their lives.
  • Obesity can cause aggression, depression and even suicide.
  • Children who are obese and more likely to become obese adults.
  • They have a higher risk of health problems such as diabetes.

Prevention

  • The biggest prevention of childhood obesity is parents guiding their children into a healthy lifestyle.
  • Showing children the proper way to eat and the proper things to eat can help dramatically.
  • Exercise regularly even if that means just playing outside for a few hours a day.
  • School prevention is also huge. Since children eat the majority of their calories while at school if the school cafeteria served healthier options children would be less likely to overeat.

Citations


  • McGarvey, E. L., Collie, K. R., Fraser, G.,Shufflebarger, C., Lloyd, B., & Oliver, M. (2006). Using Focus Group Results to Inform Preschool Childhood Obesity Prevention Programming. Ethnicity & Health, 11(3), 265-285. doi:10.1080/13557850600565707
  • Berk, L. E. (2010). Physical and Cognitive Development in Middle Childhood. Development through the lifespan (5th ed.,pp. 292-294). Boston: Allyn & Bacon