The Weight of the World
The Effects of Childhood Obesity
A losing battle has risen in the arena of health affecting thousands, even millions of those that matter most, the children. This battle is childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is a growing concern in today’s society. Rising at extreme rates, one may call it an epidemic. The percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has more than doubled since the early 1970s (Marcus, 2003). With the vast amount of fast food restaurants and unhealthy foods along with the lack of exercise, obesity is hard to avoid. Usually the most delicious and easiest foods to prepare are the ones that are not so good for our ...view middle of the document...
A few years ago it was rare to hear of a child having type 2 diabetes, but not any longer (Johnson, 2012). More than 186,000 people younger than the age of 20 have type 2 diabetes (Johnson, 2012). In type 2 diabetes, your body cannot use the hormone insulin effectively, leading to what is called “insulin resistance”. Because insulin helps your body use the sugar in your bloodstream as energy, insulin resistance causes your body to make even more insulin which can wear on your pancreas. Once your pancreas can not compensate any longer, you develop type 2 diabetes. (Manzella, 2006).
High blood pressure, or hypertension, in a child is caused by having a blood pressure equal to or greater than the 95th percent of other children of the same age, sex and height (Rodriguez). When a person has high blood pressure, blood pushes too hard against the blood vessels, which can cause damage to blood vessels, the heart, and other organs (Beckerman, 2012). The heart pounds faster than it should to send nutrients and oxygen through the blood vessels. High blood pressure combined with high levels of cholesterol increases the risk of heart stroke. (Knapp)
Obstructive sleep apnea is a disorder that results in a periodic inability to breathe during sleep due to an obstructed airway. Airways are blocked by enlarged adenoids and/or tonsils. It happens frequently in overweight adults, but overweight children can have sleep apnea too. It can be more devastating in children because younger people require more sleep to function properly. (Ford-Martin). Because sleep apnea puts such pressure on the heart and the brain, death is possible from a heart attack, heart failure or stroke (Balint).
Childhood obesity is more than a physical problem. Overweight adolescents are frequently teased by their peers as individuals who are less desirable to have as friends (“Weight Can Damage Self-Esteem”). As a result, they have low self-esteem. Obese children are more likely to experience loneliness, sadness or nervousness than other children, as well as bullying and teasing. Adolescents tend to be more aware of how they...