The Consequences Of Childhood Obesity

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Childhood obesity has become one of the most dangerous epidemics across the nation. In United States, obesity affects more than 30% of the childhood population (Obesity Action, 2015). Obesity in children is determined by their body mass index (BMI). A child with BMI of 95 percentile and higher is considered obese. United States has the highest prevalence of childhood obesity: about one in three children are overweight or obese (CDC, 2014). In 2014, Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that childhood obesity has increase d from “7% in 1980 to 12% in 2012 for children aged 1 year to 11 years, and 5% to 21% for children aged 12 years to 19 years”. The rate has more than doubled in children in past 30 years, and it is steadfastly …show more content…
The immediate risks include high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, pre-diabetes, and various joint problems (WHO, 2015). These immediate health consequences can be a gateway to other chronic diseases such as cancer, osteoarthritis, stroke, sleep apnea, and diabetes (CDC 2014). Various studies have also shown that obese children are more likely to become obese as adults; recent study by National Institute of Health (CDC, 2014) showed that about a third of obese preschool children and about half of obese school-age children were obese as adults. In addition to physical diseases, obese children are also vulnerable to psychological stresses due to social discrimination. This, in turn, can hinder academic and social functioning, and can create low self-esteem that can persist into adulthood (About Our Kids, 2014). CDC has reported that obese children are 200 percent more likely to develop various mental problems, such as depression and eating disorders, than normal children (LetsMove, 2014). Other health consequences of childhood obesity include ADHD, allergies, asthma, and infections (LetsMove, 2014).
These alarming consequences of childhood obesity have raised public concerns. There has been increasing awareness in various method of prevention such as diet, therapy, and exercise. This paper focuses on exercise as a lifestyle change to prevent and treat obesity among children. Specifically,
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Without proper education, it is difficult for children to understand the importance of exercise in maintaining or losing their weight. However, in a 2013 survey conducted by CDC, it is reported that only 29% of high school students participated in at least 60 minutes of physical education per day (CDC, 2014). In addition to theoretical approach in educating students on importance of physical activity, physical education in school also includes more practical ways such as recess and organized sports.
Finally, it is believed that parks and recreational centers play important role in decreasing childhood obesity. CDC reports that access to parks and fields allows children to be more physically active and decreases their risks of being obese. Research has shown that youth without access to opportunities for physical activity during non-school hours are less likely to be as physically active as their peers.
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