5 May 2015
Childhood Obesity: Is there an elucidation?
1. Describe the Policy, Program or Topic:
The growth in childhood obesity over the past several decades, together with the associated health problems and costs, is raising serious concern among health care professionals, policy experts, children’s advocates, and parents. Childhood obesity is defined “in terms of body mass index (BMI), which in turn is defined as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared” (Anderson). According to the Obesity Action Coalition “a child is defined as “affected by obesity” if their body mass index-for-age (or BMI-for-age) percentile is ...view middle of the document...
With childhood obesity rising quickly over the years, numerous causes have developed that have each contributed to increases in mortality and health risks. One cause of obesity is genetic which can be determined as monogenic obesity. Monogenetic is defined as the cause of one specific gene. One gene that has an effect on obesity is called Leptin and this hormone deals with controlling your appetite. Although Leptin is the most important contributor to obesity, there are several other genes that come into play. These include more than 430 genes, markers, and chromosomal regions associated or linked with human obesity phenotypes. Another cause of obesity is environmental. A person’s environment plays a key role in determining a child’s habits and perceptions. The environment can be defined as commercials on the television to one’s actual geographic location. Today, children are watching television at an alarming rate and instead, are getting less exercise than past years. Today, approximately 40 to 50 percent of every dollar that is spent on food is spent outside the home in restaurants, cafeterias or sporting events (OAC). Another key contributor to obesity is the lack of physical activity. The emergence of computers, televisions, and other indoor activities all contribute to a sedentary lifestyle. School also plays an important role in the lack of physical activity. Today, currently only eight percent of elementary and less than seven percent of middle schools have required daily recess (OAC). Children coming from lower-income families have a greater chance of becoming obese due to the lack of healthy foods, extracurricular activities and often opt for unhealthy foods because they are inexpensive and easier to access.
Childhood obesity has many causes that lead to an increased chance of harmful health risks. Some of the health risks include diabetes, metabolic syndrome, Hyperandrogenism, heart disease, hypertension, asthma, sleep disorders, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, gallbladder disease and even cancer. Over the past decade, type 2 diabetes has never been associated with children until recent years. Type 2 diabetes in youth represents the most rapid growing form of diabetes in the United States, Australia, Europe and Japan. Obesity generates a variety of physical changes and hemodynamic altercations which can lead to heart disease. Apart from the health risks of obesity, it can even cause social discrimination which can lead to self-esteem and depression issues. Self-esteem and depression issues often affect academics leading to poorer scores and social rejection. Society has placed an image of the “perfect” body and obese or overweight people feel stigmatized by their peers. The problems of obesity in children are stark and could possibly affect the wellbeing of a child for the rest of their lives.
There are a number of prevention strategies that can minimize health risks and lead to a healthy lifestyle among...