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History Project - Essay Example

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Course Date National Health Issue: Childhood Obesity Part I: Research Report Definition Obesity is defined as excessive body fat (Alexander-Mott & Lumsden, 1994). Childhood obesity is defined as occurring when children are “well above the normal weight for his or her age and height” (Mayo Clinic, 2012)…
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Download file to see previous pages Prevalence of Childhood Obesity Childhood obesity and overweight children are characterized as “epidemic in North America and internationaly” (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001, p. 239). The number of children satisfying the definition of obesity has increased significantly. For example, information released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicates that in the US the number of obese children between ages 6 and 19 increased from 4-5% in 1963-1970 to 15% in 1999-2000 (Korbonits, 2008). The CDC (2012) reports that 17% or 12.5 million children and adolescents in the US between the ages of 2 and 19 “are obese.” In addition, the numbers of obese children in the US have tripled since the 1980s. Childhood obesity differs according to ethnic and racial distinctions. For example, between 2007 and 2008, data suggested that Hispanic boys between the ages of 2 and 19 were far “more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys” (CDC, 2012). The data from 2007-2008 also revealed that non-Hispanic black girls were far more “likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls” (CDC, 2012). The CDC (n.d.) reports that 1 out of every 3 children are either obese or overweight before attaining the age of 5. Moreover, approximately 3.7 million or 1/3 of children from low-income families between ages 2 and 4 were either overweight or obese (CDC, n.d.). Childhood obesity is therefore prevalent in the US. Causes of Childhood Obesity According to Korbonits (2008) only between 1 and 2 percent of obese children suffer obesity as a result of an inherited gene. Obesity in children for the most part is more frequently caused by a number of interacting factors that “increase food intake and decrease energy expenditure” (Korbonits, 2008, p. 88). According to Davies, Fitzgerald and Mousouli (2007) both the quality and availability of food has changed during the latter parts of the 1900s to the extent that both food and drinks are dense in energy, come in larger portions, marketing of food and drinks has intensified and more and more Americans eat away from the home. Urbanization has also contributed to the propensity for obesity as walking in cities has been characterized as too dangerous (Davies, et. al., 2007). People in general have become more sedentary and as a result there is far less physical activities (Davies, et. al., 2007). Eating and lifestyle patterns and choices are typically cultural in nature in that children often inherit these choices and patterns within their respective cultures. Thus cultural influences help to explain why Hispanic boys and black girls in the US are more likely to be obese (Sundquist & Winkleby, 2000). Feeding habits beginning in infancy is said to be linked to the development of childhood obesity (Harder, Bergmann, Kallischnigg & Plagemann, 2005). A lack of physical activity is also linked to childhood obesity. In fact, Kimm, Glynn, Obarzaneck and Kriska (2005) reports that individuals who are more active are more able to effectively control their weight by developing muscles and decreasing body fat. However, children today tend to reduce the level of physical activities by the time they start high school (Kimm et. al., 2005). Health Risk Factors Attributed to Obesity Roberts and Hoffman (2008) reported that childhood obesity is associated with academic underperformance, psychological and physical health problems ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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