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The Devastating Effects Of Childhood Obesity

980 words - 4 pages

The Devastating Effects of Childhood Obesity
Obesity is the most common dietary crisis that affects many Americans including children and teenagers. Studies show that childhood obesity has increased during the past two decades. Nowadays, about 15 percent of children and adolescents are overweight (Baron and Marcus). Obesity is defined as an excessively high amount of body fat in relation to lean body mass. Obesity occurs when the percentage of body fat is greater than 30 percent for women and 25 percent for men (“Obesity”). If during childhood people are more likely to build their identity and self-confidence, what kind of negative effects obesity produce? The effects of childhood obesity ...view middle of the document...

Dr. Lee explains that “One possibility is that substances released by fat act to convert the male hormone androgen into the female hormone estrogen, which could possibly hasten puberty in girls but delay it in boys” (qtd. by Taylor).
Most children realize at an early age that being overweight is socially undesirable. They are discriminated, stigmatized, called names, and rejected by their peers. Children in general do not want to have an obese friend, regardless if they are overweight themselves. Discrimination takes place even at school where some teachers tend to inappropriately label overweight children as ‘immature’. Since obese children look older, teachers assume that they should behave maturely. During adolescence, discrimination only gets worse. Society through the media has imposed standards about how people should look. For girls, the ideal is to be thin, ‘thinner, better’, so obese female adolescents are less likely to have dates and to participate in school activities. Non obese adolescents consider their obese-peers as unhappy, undisciplined, self-indulgent, lazy, and unattractive. Consequently, obese teenagers who are ostracized became reclusive and isolated. According to Baron and Marcus, isolation could aggravate the obesity because the isolated person can increase the over-eating habits and live a sedentary life. In opposition to social withdraw, some obese adolescents may engage themselves in high risk behaviors in order to being accepted and please the popular crowd.
Overweight children exposed to the weight stigma may be vulnerable to psychological disorders such as depression and low self-esteem. In a study by Schwimmer, “obese children rated their quality of life with scores as low as those of young cancer patients on chemotherapy… the results indicated that teasing at school, difficulties playing sports, fatigue, sleep apnea and other obesity-linked problems severely affected obese children's well-being” (qtd. in Childhood Obesity: The Effects on Physical and Mental Health). It is understandable why obese children and adolescents suffer from depression. Having...

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