May, 9, 2011
Over the last 30 years, according to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has become a more serious problem in the United States, increasing by 15%. The increase in weight in children has been attributed to unhealthy diets and lack of physical activity. The effects to the child and the community can include an increase in diseases more frequently seen in adults such as type II diabetes, hypertension, and breathing problems. Additionally, the child may experience lower self-esteem and depression. Costs to the community can include increased costs for health care, lower productivity because of loss in work time, and decrease in the quality of life (Snider, 2004). Goals to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and its’ resulting health concerns must be outlined and supported by parents, children, and the community.
The primary concern when dealing with childhood obesity is that of health, not the appearance of the child (Snider, 2004). In defining childhood obesity, the Mayo Clinic puts emphasis on this serious medical condition and the resulting health issues, those most often seen in adults. These diseases can include heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, and depression or low self-esteem, and discrimination. Emphasis is placed on careful diagnosis to determine if a child’s obesity is caused by diet and lack of exercise, or if the problem is genetic or hormonal. Evaluation of risk factors that can contribute to childhood obesity can help determine the path to encourage healthier life choices. To reduce the incidence of obesity in children several factors must be addressed. These include determining the cause, the risk factors, and the best course of action.
Risk factors involved with childhood obesity can include diet, lack of exercise, the family predilection toward overweight, overeating to cope with personal or family issues, the family’s ability to provide healthy...