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Increasing obesity in children and adolescents: An alarming epidemic - Essay Example

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In the United States, it is among the most prevalent nutritional condition amid American children and even adults. According to Wilkinson, the…
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Increasing obesity in children and adolescents: An alarming epidemic Increasing obesity in children and adolescents: An alarming epidemic
Childhood obesity continues to be an issue of major concern and calls for immediate intervention if adverse outcomes are to be avoided. In the United States, it is among the most prevalent nutritional condition amid American children and even adults. According to Wilkinson, the statics regarding childhood obesity are extremely troubling (2008). Body mass index (BMI), is what is used to measure childhood obesity. Both age and sex are important factors in measuring body weight. BMI can also be used to tell whether an adult will be obese or not. If a child’s body weight surpasses the required percentile for their age and sex then there is likelihood that this person will be obese in future.
The growing trend of overweight children can be associated with the increasing amount of calories to meals in restaurants. The media has also contributed to childhood obesity through the advertisement of junk foods. Studies reveal that nearly a third of children in America with ages between four and nineteen eat junk or fast food on a daily basis. Other than the media and eating junk food, school lunch programs have also been blamed for causing the problem of obesity in children. Studies show that food bought at schools also contributes to the increase of overweight children. The increase in numbers of children who are overweight has also resulted into a rise in medical problems. Medical experts explain that becoming overweight during adulthood is a grave heath problem. Overweight adults may experience respiratory and cardiovascular problems. In addition, as the number of overweight children rises, conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and many others are continuing to increase. Other than physical problems, overweight in individuals also experience psychological issues. These issues may include low self esteem, being marginalized by other children or adults who do not have the condition, unhelpful body image and generally poor living. Obesity has also been known to emphasize negative qualities in children such as self-centeredness, laziness, poor academic performance and lack of social life. It is also notable that most children are aware that overweight is a negative aspects and this is why the number of suicide attempts due to such knowledge continue to increase. Overweight adolescents and children tend to be extremely anxious and depressed (Wilkinson, 2008).
Treating childhood obesity can be simple if the condition is noticed in early stages especially in young children. The most common ways and means of treating obese children have been alteration of diets, minimizing foods that contain high fat quantity and a high intake of fluids. Health concerned organizations recommend that children at the age of two years be given foods that are low in fat content. Healthy meals in this case include dairy products that are low in fat content, fruits, lean meat and fish. Eating healthy foods is very essential when it comes to decreasing body weight and understanding the standards of healthy living. It is important to eat a meal that is balanced such that it should contain all the four food groups necessary for proper health. Reading the labels on foods can assist in achieving healthy eating goals and objects. Education regarding obesity prevention measures ought to begin when children are at a young age. The entire family should be ready to adhere to these measures to avoid such problems in future. If action is not taken early enough, then later interventions may not be of much help. Support from families and care providers, is also very essential in tackling obesity (Wilkinson, 2008).

Wilkinson, K. (2008). Increasing obesity in children and adolescents: An alarming epidemic. JAAPA : Journal of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, 21(12), 31-6, 38. Retrieved January 25, 2012, from ProQuest Health and Medical Complete. (Document ID: 1777844091). Read More
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