coursehero.wps - The Causes and Effects of Childhood...

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The Causes and Effects of Childhood Obesity Throughout The Past 20 Years The problem of childhood obesity has become a growing epidemic in recent years and a nation wide trend throughout the United States. The percentage of overweight children and adolescents has more than doubled in the past two decades. 15 percent of young people, ages 6- 18, are considered obese. “Since 1980, the percentage of children who are overweight has nearly tripled” (Thompson 5). Obesity, which is the easiest condition to recognize, is also the most difficult condition to treat. These overweight children are at increased risk for developing Type II diabetes, and high blood pressure at an early age. They are also vulnerable to liver and heart disease. 30 percent of adult obesity begins in childhood. Obesity accounts for more than 300,000 deaths a year and the annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion. Today, most children are inactive, watching TV and playing video games, instead of exercising. Eating too much fast food and junk food also contribute to childhood obesity. Obesity is defined as having an excess amount of body fat. The Body Mass Index is used to determine if someone is just overweight or obese. BMI uses a mathematical formula, in which a person's weight in pounds is divided by the square of the person's height in inches and this result is then multiplied by 703. The BMI is used differently with children. The scales are age and gender specific due to growth pattern differences. A child is considered to be overweight if they fall above the 95th percentile for their age and sex. “Children are considered at risk if they fall between the 85th and 95th percentile. Children considered to be underweight will be < 5 percent” (Rotario 122). There are many factors that contribute to causing childhood obesity. These are: genetics,
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nutrition, physical activity, the media, school systems, and social economic status. Obese adults often have obese children. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that a child will also be obese. However, when both parents are obese, a child has an 80 percent chance of being obese. Children are likely to develop eating habits similar to their parents. If the parents eat a lot of unhealthy foods, the child will too because that is what they are fed and that is what they are used to eating. Over-consumption of high-calorie foods and foods with a lot of carbohydrates and sugar is a big part of the cause of childhood obesity. Children’s dietary habits have shifted away from healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to a much greater reliance on fast food, processed snack foods, and sugary drinks. Lack of exercise is also a major cause of obesity in children. When physical activity
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This note was uploaded on 03/19/2008 for the course WRA 150 taught by Professor Vetne during the Fall '08 term at Michigan State University.

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coursehero.wps - The Causes and Effects of Childhood...

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