Obesity in children is steadily increasing and has become an epidemic. What we need to consider when it comes to this topic is that not only does it affect children in a physical manner but, mentally as well. For decade children have faced this struggle and the biggest issue I see as that it is a consist issue all the way up to adulthood. Obesity put children more at risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes as well. It is said that obesity is a disorder that can be caused by multiple different things such as; Lifestyle preferences, cultural environment and food intake.
There is supporting evidence that shows high levels of sugar intake, huge portion sizes, and lack of physical activity are the biggest cause of obesity all over the planet. Let us discuss what children can do to help break this epidemic and how we can support them.
Before we start, let us define what childhood obesity really is and look at a couple statistics.
We look and define obesity as excess body fat and that is easiest to understand. But to break it down further we can look at a study that was done in 1992 by William et al. He conducted this study on 3,320 children from the ages of 5 through 18.. He considered male children with a body fat percentage of 25 to be fat and for females it is 30%. Looking at The Center for Disease Control and Prevention considers children at or above the 95th percentile of body mass index (BMI) for age and “at risk for overweight” as between 85th to 95th percentile of BMI for age.
“This is stated on www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov in the articles section under child obesity paragraph 4”.
We must take genetics into consideration when dealing with obese children. Expenditure and energy intake can have an imbalance in a family and then passed on to children. A child who experiences obesity can at times be aggressive and have insecurities that will carry on with them even into adulthood. Genetics is not the only big factor here, because we could touch on metabolism. This is the body’s expenditure of energy for resting functions. In sedentary adults, Basal metabolic rate is responsible for about 60% of total energy expenditure. Most researchers, doctors and scientist believe that you will find lower metabolic rates in obese people. Children model after the adults around them as well and may pick up bad habits and traits which contributes to obesity.
Fast food causes a drastic increase in body fat. Foods that most children get a lot of especially when they live in a house hold with two working parents who need a convenient meal to feed their children. You see numerous children quite often drinking sugary drinks instead a water. This could be juice or even soda pop. Sugary beverages are usually consumed quicker due to it being less filling than food. Not only are our youth eating and drinking the wrong foods, they are doing it at an increase rate with the big portions of it they have. They go back for a second and third plate filled with unhealthy foods. And, most times than not there are snack foods that follow behind it later on throughout the day such as chips, candy, and baked goods which is increasing their overall calorie intake.
Eating in these manners has potential to affect your activity levels as well. Most kids eat while watching television. Studies have shown that each hour of television per day increased the prevalence of obesity by 2%. Over the years television consumptions has increased drastically over the last decade and not just in children. Physical activity has decreased over time due to sedentary behaviors and those same studies prove sweetened foods are slightly linked to sedentary actions. Those foods could even be sweetened cereals and even salty snacks.
Don’t you think that electronic media over the years have contributed to sedentary behaviors? Like we said before opportunities to have active children have decreased dramatically and some of the reason why those opportunities have passed is because some parents are not supporting their children. Instead they are contributing by allowing them to have these foods and not making sure they are active. Years ago most kids rode a bike to school but in this day in age about 68% of children receive a ride from mommy or daddy. What type of foods are we making accessible to our children and what meal preferences? Are we really watching the amount our children eat?
Are we going to keep allowing our children to experience real psychological problems like anxiety and depression, or are we going to stop it? How long do our children experience self-esteem issues, body dissatisfaction and teasing from their peers? How many more emotional problems where kids feel ashamed of their weight? 10 different studies showed that all child participants stated some level of psychological impact due to their weight status. The studies also showed that young female children with a lack of control over eating seemed to intensify the psychosocial consequence. Nothing good comes from this, we already know four major issues already. A child’s physical health, emotional well-being, social and self-esteem but, there is another. How about obesity can causes a child to have poor academic performance. A lot of factors here, and adults need to be more involved in the life of a child to stop this from happening.
We know kids deal with some social issues due to being overweight. Teasing and being bullied are 2 big ones or maybe a social issue could be not feeling accepted. But, what’s most important to me is the medical concerns. Not adult but childhood obesity has been linked to numerous medical conditions. Scientist and doctors have witnessed childhood obesity be linked to cardiovascular disease, gallstones, skin conditions, menstrual abnormities, fatty liver disease which is called (heptic steatosis), high cholesterol, sleep apnea, Type 2 Diabetes, asthma, and many others. These diseases long ago were only found in adults, but now are found in obese children all over the planet earth. Some of which can result in death.
Obesity leads to teasing, bullying and non-acceptance which leads to a safe place like home which results in food. Foods that contains high levels of fat. Obesity, unfortunately for some children result in fewer friends which causes a lack of play and interaction; another cause of obesity.
We know what causes obesity, we know the outcomes of it, and we know how it affects our children. Let us discuss how to prevent it. There are some steps adults can follow to help their children so we can get rid of this epidemic. We as adults need to encourage healthy eating habits. Which means we also must set the example for children to model after. Children need healthier meals, especially if it is a favorite dish. We also don’t want them having humongous portions of their favorite food or any food for that matter. We need to stay away from anything high in calories. We need to also make sure our children know the benefits to being physically fit and remaining healthy. Every adult should help kids stay active. You don’t even need to be a child’s parent to accomplish this. A sports coach can keep more kids active. Lastly, we need to reduce kids’ sedentary time and stop giving them bad habits to model after. These steps can really change the world we live in and the lives of the next generation.