Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity
Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have an adverse effect on health, leading to reduced life expectancy and/or increased health problems (Medeiros-Neto 2003).
Nowadays about 7% of adults are obese on our planet; that is 250 million people. The obesity in China and Japan is 15% of the population, in Germany, Britain and Russia - about 50 - 54% in the U.S. - 68%. Obesity affects both women and men, and very often children start to suffer from it in childhood (Crouse 2009).
Childhood obesity concerns scientists and physicians around the world who worry a lot, carry out numerous studies and try to find the way out of this situation. Such attitude of scientists is understandable because from year to year the childhood obesity creates a growing health threat to the younger generation throughout the world.
So, on January 11, 2010 the expert of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention William Dietts said that the number of obese patients in the United States remains quite high, but ceased to grow (Waters 2010).
According to official figures, the majority of the U.S. population - 68% - suffers from excess weight. Among them 34% of patients are sick with obesity. The main concern of American doctors is the fact that 17% of children older than two years in the country are also suffering from obesity. Among infants and children under two years, the number is 10%. However, analysis of recent data obtained in 2007-08, showed that the number of patients with obesity of Americans ceased to grow and stabilized.
The study also found that African Americans are more prone to obesity, and they are followed by U.S. Latino citizens and white people. Among children aged 2 to 19 years, the boys suffer from overweight and obesity more often. The experts expressed concern about the fact that from 2000 to 2007 the number of patients with obesity among boys aged 7 to 19 years increased from 9 to 15%. In addition, doctors suggest parents to pay attention to the fact that obesity in children is usually quite high (Parker 2009).
The biggest number of obese patients recorded in six U.S. states: Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia. "The most obese” is considered the state of Mississippi, where 32.5% of the population is sick with obesity. The second place is taken by Alabama (31.2%), then West Virginia (31.1%) and Tennessee (30.2%).
The least "obese" state is the state of Colorado, where only 18.9% of the population is obese. Then it is followed by Massachusetts (21.1%) and Connecticut (21.3%) (Parker 2009).
Obesity is a consequence of modern lifestyles. Simply speaking, it occurs when the flow of energy in the body exceeds its spending. Causes of this balance are varied and depend on the nature of food and nutrition, and on lifestyle. However, the nutrition plays a main role in the development of obesity. The obesity has 2 forms: primary and secondary. Primary obesity is: Alimentary (related to the wrong diet; overfeeding) and exogenously - constitutional (connected to heredity). Secondary obesity is a consequence of various congenital or acquired diseases, with the background of endocrine pathology (for example, lack of thyroid function). Alimentary obesity is not accompanied by disturbances in the health of the child, and at the age of 5-10 years children are physically formed right. However, 25-30% of children retain nutritional obesity before puberty. The body can’t exist without fat at all. It performs various functions. It is the mechanical protection and stabilization of the internal organs, blood vessels and nerves. It is the function of heat savings. Adipose tissue is required for activation of female sex hormones, including participation in the processes of sexual maturation of girls. However, its excess can lead to very unpleasant consequences. Obesity brings an imbalance in the work of nearly all the internal organs (Korbonits 2008).
Child obesity leads to the fact that diseases that were previously considered to be for adults, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, the presence of fat in the blood, and diabetes, osteoarthritis and even some types of cancer begin to occur in much younger people. And, unfortunately, with age overweight begins to dominate in girls who have serious burden on the conception, bearing and birth children.
So, childhood obesity is very dangerous for young organisms, because it causes a lot of diseases, such as:
-Diabetes mellitus type 2, or insulin. This type of diabetes is characterized by the fact that tissues are not sensitive to insulin and glucose does not enter the cells, in connection with which its level in blood raises. It develops in adulthood in 57% of obese patients.
-Cardiovascular disease: changes in heart rate, blood pressure, increase of cholesterol in the blood, etc. Up to 34% of obese children have a risk of serious heart disease and vascular disease.
-Violation in the gastrointestinal tract: indigestion, the tendency to form gallstones.
-Dysfunction of sex glands. Thus, boys with obesity may have genital hypoplasia, and girls - menstrual dysfunction.
-Problems with the central nervous system: sleep problems, increased appetite, thirst, headache, pain in the limbs. Children often have the change of behavior that is expressed with phlegm, mild mood changes, decrease the performance.
-Problems of the musculoskeletal system - the change of posture, gait, flat feet, osteoporosis (bone depression), etc.
-Reduced immunity.
-Cancer of the breast, uterus, colon (obesity causes 11% of cases of these diseases) (Institute of Medicine 2005).
It is known that children with overweight have asthma 2 times more likely than children of normal weight. It is assumed that being overweight may increase the pressure and stress on the anatomical airways in the lungs, leading thus to their closure. It is also possible that obesity increases the susceptibility of the organism to substances in the environment that cause asthma.
And in adulthood the child with obesity threaten to diseases of the joints, spine, lower extremities, gastrointestinal tract, as well as sexual disorders and even infertility. There can be the life-threatening complications - heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, gangrene of the lower extremities.
After everything that was written above, it is understood that we have a very sad outlook - half the current 16-year-old boys will not live till the age of 60 years ... Scientists estimate that every person whose death was related to obesity, on average, live nine years less than people of normal weight. And in the nearest future the obesity may become a more frequent cause of death, than smoking (Kiess 2004).
The health threat is created by a commitment of modern children to television programs, computer games, eating fast food, with which they receive too much fat, sugar and salt, and too few fruits and vegetables. The result is that the daily caloric intake among children increased by 30% and energy consumption, due to sedentary lifestyles, doesn’t happen.
Of course, childhood obesity starts with a regime that children learn in the family, starting from the age of 2 years. The main reason of obesity is the lack of food culture. Of course, the lack of exercise plays a great role in obesity also; some people feel pleasure lying on the couch and not walking in the park with the family. But often parents do not realize the responsibility that is on them to prevent threats to the health of their children.
It should also be mentioned, the nutritional of children, and especially school children depend on the administration of schools and government. They are to blame for the increase in childhood obesity. For years the food in the U.S. schools consisted of fast food, chips, hamburgers, Coca-Cola and other harmful staff (Flamenbaum 2006).

The modern system of school nutrition causes childhood obesity. The canteens in secondary educational institutions are simply unable to feed children properly. Thus, workers of canteens do the wrong dining menu, violate diet, and cook no first dishes for students of high school, and generally the menu of school canteens are not balanced and diverse at all. Students must satisfy the hunger with mainly pasta and confectionery products. And finally, students who come to dine in the dining room in the middle of the school day, just often have no place to sit.
Now the government is trying to rehabilitate itself and the problem of combating the disease in the U.S. went out on the state level. President Barack Obama has made the issue of combating obesity of the nation as one of the key in the reform of health care. He is sure that if not to take any measures to combat obesity, the state each year will spend more money to pay for medical services related to the treatment of this disease and other diseases caused by obesity
The government admits his guilt in the increase of childhood obesity in the United States. In 2003, all schools in New York decided to ban the sale in vending machines sweet soda and sweets. Instead, students were offered to buy bottles with plain water, natural juices and "dietetic" chips with a low content of salt and fat. In school cafeterias there is a sharp reduce of salt, sugar and fat in products. Some dishes, leading to obesity are excluded from the menu. In turn, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has forbidden selling fast food in schools at all. The Texas laws forbid the sale of chips, chocolate, sweet soda and baking dough in schools.
Since the problem still exists, we need decisive actions to prevent serious illness among children with excess weight in the near future. But first on the defense must get the family and school, and do everything possible in order children grow up healthy. The recipe of healthy life is well known - the right diet and exercise. Authorities and school administration is to blame for childhood obesity, but they are trying to change the situation for the better.


Crouse, Janice Shaw. Children at risk: the precarious state of children's well-being in America. 2009. pp. 78-79. Print.
Flamenbaum, Richard K. Childhood obesity and health research. 2006. pp. 37-39. Print.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.), Committee on Prevention of Obesity in Children and Youth., Koplan, Jeffrey., Liverman, Catharyn T. Preventing childhood obesity: health in the balance. 2005. pp. 99-101. Print.
Kiess, Wieland., Marcus, Claude., Wabitsch, Martin. Obesity in childhood and adolescence. 2004. pp. 160-161. Print.
Korbonits, Márta. Obesity and metabolism. 2008. p. 89. Print.
Medeiros-Neto, Geraldo., Halpern, Alfredo. Progress in obesity research. 2003. pp. 684-687. Print.
Parker, Lynn., Burns, Annina Catherine. Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity. 2009. pp. 17-19. Print.
Waters, Elizabeth., Seidell, Jacob., Swinburn, Boyd. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Evidence Policy and Practice. 2010. pp. 132-133. Print.

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