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Childhood Obesity

Essay by   •  March 24, 2011  •  4,291 Words (18 Pages)  •  1,472 Views

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Introduction

"Living in Rochester, NY is a lady by the name of Betty. She is 17 years old and weighs 440 pounds. She has been overweight since she was 12 years old. She used to go to school, but she had to drop out because people continued to make fun of me. She suffers from depression, anxiety and agoraphobia. She hates her body so much and she wishes she could lose all this weight in a heartbeat, but she can't. Now she sits around in the house all day, and when she does go out she doesn't even get out of the car"(My story). Betty is like many of the children and teenagers across America, she suffers from obesity. The question then becomes, what can be done to solve the problem of obesity in children and youth across the nation? A solution that can be done to help solve the problem of obesity is exercise recognizing also that obesity can be influenced by the parents, one can implement the plan by three ways: developing stronger physical education classes in school, letting the parents influence by monitoring what their children eat at home, while not allowing their children and adolescents to watch excessive amounts of TV. These two strategies to fight the problem of obesity will lower the rate of obesity because they will be encouraged to do something about their weight by eating healthier an a couple of solutions can be done to help solve the problem of obesity such as: gym classes required in elementary, middle, and high schools and feeding healthier food to the students. These two strategies to fight the problem of obesity will lower the rate of obesity because they will be encouraged to do something about their weight by eating healthier and exercising in the physical education classes.

Problem

Before one can understand the fact that obesity is a problem, one has to know the precise definition of the disease. Dictionary.com, which is an online dictionary that gives precise and exact definitions to words, defines obesity as "increased body weight by the accumulation of fat". The accumulation of fat, which increases body weight, can be attributed to the amount of food that is eaten, the different kinds of food that is eaten, and the lack of exercise and physical activity. It is a disease that results from carelessness and laziness on the part of the individual with the disease, even though there are some people who struggle with the disease and cannot help it. Most of the cases of obesity among the children and youth of our country result from the carelessness of the choices of food that is eaten and the laziness, which is a problem due to not exercising. Obesity is a problem that can be fixed if the children and youth of our nation will watch what they eat and engage in physical activity.

After one understands the definition of obesity, then it can be decided by extensive research if obesity is a problem. Over the past three decades, since the mid 1970's until present, obesity has been a problem among the children of this country. Many more children are becoming obese. It is has also been evident that obesity can lead to other health problems such as hypertension, asthma, and diabetes. These problems can then lead to more and more medical difficulties. If it goes untreated, then it may lead to death based on severity. Table 1, from the American Obesity Association about childhood obesity, reveals the prevalence of obesity in children over the past 30 years and the increase over the years.

Obesity in children has increased and will continue to rise if something is not done. However, realizing that there is a problem with obesity among American children is the first step to fixing the problem.

Not only is obesity a crisis among American children in the United States, but it is also a dilemma among the adolescents in America. An increase in obesity among adolescents has also been seen through the last 30 years. More and more teenagers are becoming obese. Table 2, from the American Obesity Association on the prevalence of childhood obesity, reveals the percentage of youth in America is obese.

These two graphs reveal the rise of obesity in the United States. The obesity problem in the United States is a crisis! These statistics concerning obesity are startling. They are real and attest to a real problem going on in America.

In comparison, there is also a correlation between obesity and gender. The rise in obesity not only can be seen in relation to age, but a relationship can also be seen in gender. Figure three reveals some numbers that are startling in relation to obesity and gender. As time elapses, obesity continues to rise in accordance to gender. Obesity in boys has increased at a higher rate and tends to be higher than obesity in young girls. Even though it may not appear as a shocker to some that obesity is higher among young boys because girls tend to be more concerned about their appearance, however, obesity continues to rise as figure three shows through the increased numbers.

Figure 3. Increase in Obesity Prevalence (%) Among U.S. Children (Ages 6 to 11)

Boys Girls

1971 to 1974 4.3 3.6

1988 to 1994 11.6 11

1999 to 2000 16 14.5

Source: AOA Fact Sheets

Obesity has tripled among boys and girls since the early 1970's. It is the year 2005 and obesity has continues to be on the rise.

Likewise, an increase in obesity can be seen when comparing the males and females, which are adolescents in the United States between ages 12 to 19. The rise in obesity has not been as heavy among these older males' females. Nonetheless, it has continued to increase and has raised enough to see that it is a problem among this age group. As figure indicates, it has been on the rise since the mid 1970's and has continued to rise since 2000.

Figure 4. Increase in Obesity Prevalence (%) Among U.S. Adolescents (Ages 12 to 19)

Males Females

1971 to 1974 6.1 6.2

1988 to 1994 11.3 9.7

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