Obesity, especially among young children is a problem in America. Obesity is defined as “a condition characterized by excess body fat” (Hodges, 2003, p.13). This means a person is consuming more calories in a day than is required by their body. Extra calories are dangerous for children and quickly lead to excess weight gain. The problem of childhood obesity is increasing at a high rate. "The prevalence of childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity has increased substantially in the past 2 decades. Currently, 1 in 7 children and adolescents in the United States is overweight" (Swallen, Reither, Haas, & Meier, 2005, p.340).
The trend toward being young and overweight has a negative effect on American children; both physically and emotionally. “Obesity is not a benign condition, but carries both physical and psychologic sequelae associated with hypertension, dyslipidemia, hyperinsulinemia, orthopedic problems, social rejection and low self-esteem” (Hodges, 2003, p.14).
The impact of being overweight hits young people at a time in their lives when their self-image matters most to them. American society places great importance on being thin and obese children stand out among their peers in a negative way. Often, obese children are rejected by their schoolmates and treated differently by society as a whole. A child's feelings of rejection can lead to a poor self-worth can be detrimental to their emotional and psychological development. These feelings may last well into adulthood and may last their entire lifetime.
Researchers are working to determine the reasons why children in America are locked in a battle with obesity. Some research indicates that nature or genetics is the basis. There are indictors that being overweight is due to a predisposition inherited from parents by way of fat genes. "Scientists have pinpointed over 250 genes in humans that may help determine what we weigh. These genes influence our appetite, explaining why...