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The problem of childhood obesity has become a thorny issue because it poses life threating conditions to health of individuals. The problem of obesity is expected to present long-term effects on the health of people if immediate actions are not put into place to reverse the trend (West & Saffin 4). Childhood obesity touches all kind of races and ethnic backgrounds. Childhood obesity is contributed by genetic factors, changes in diet, increased time spent in sedentary behavior, and declining levels of physical activity. Additionally, lifestyle factors such as family influence, media advertising, and alteration in society have been related to the trend of childhood obesity.
Biological issues such as heredity and metabolic functioning play a vital role in childhood obesity, but this is not the entire story. In genetics, the body mass index (BMI) is 25 TO 40% heritable though the genetics factor accounts for 5% of cases of childhood obesity (Youfa, et al, 5). Children obesity was stable between the years 1971 to 1974, but gradually began to rise due to environment changes. Back in 2004 in United States, childhood obesity affected about 19% of children at the age of 6 to 11, and 17% of teenage children between the ages of 12 to 19 years. The number has increased since the research conducted in 1963, when childhood obesity was around 4-5%. Currently, one-third of the adults are obese. Therefore, this seems to be a deeply rooted trend that wants to be eradicated.
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children. The medical condition happens when children are above the average weight. Childhood obesity is a threat since it is leads to diseases that are confined to adults such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (Masood 2). Obesity and body weight in large is influenced by combinations of many factors such as genes, behaviors, culture, environment socioeconomic status, and behaviors. Energy imbalance involves consuming excess calories and inadequate physical activity (West & Saffin 4). Childhood obesity has been declared a national disaster since it is affecting more than 30% of children. This is an enormous percentage of children populations, hence becoming the most common chronic disease in children.
Overweight children are vulnerable to the significant risk of emotional and physical problems (Lossing 10). Additionally, the overweight children are more likely to excess body weight later in life. Therefore, it is recommended that they take a chance of changing their diet and have regular exercise patterns. Weight problems are the simplest medical conditions to know; nevertheless it is proving difficult to eradicate the menace (Masood, 3). Generally, in United States obesity has become a growing epidemic issue as reflected across the globe. Therefore, considering the significance and insinuations of this epidemic become a key factor in eradicating childhood obesity. The paper will elucidate on what childhood obesity is; moreover it will talk about the causes of childhood obesity as well as health issues related to the medical conditions (Lossing, 2). Eventually, the paper will explicate who is responsible for childhood obesity and how can childhood obesity can be treated or prevented.
Is childhood obesity a serious health problem globally and more specifically in United States?
Is childhood obesity a serious health problem that affects many children?
Why is it significance to tackle the epidemic of childhood obesity?
What are the medical costs of child obese?
What are the risk factors associated with obesity?
How can the societies, make a difference in curbing the epidemic?
Causes of obesity
Lack of energy balance in the body
Childhood obesity is mainly caused by lack of energy balance in the body. The energy IN and the energy OUT of must balance in a healthy individual. If the energy IN and OUT fail to balance, it is difficult for individuals to maintain a healthy and recommended weight. More specifically, the intake of excess calories is responsible for overweight and obesity in children. When energy intake exceeds expenditure, excessive weight is gained. It should be noted that the endocrinological syndromes like Praeder Willi, Klinefelter’s, Frohlich’s, Lawrence Mood Biedl, Klein-Levin, and Mauriac syndromes are associated with obesity but only responsible for 5% cases (Anderson, Patricia, and Butcher 24).
In addition, genetics factors are also responsible for childhood obesity. Recent studies indicated that a person inherits 25 to 40% of BMI (Anderson, Patricia, and Butcher 25). It was found that certain people had a higher genetic susceptibility to weight gain. There are more than five genetic mutations that have been established as causes of obesity. Obese children of Pakistani origin with consanguineous parents were affected by the mutation of a gene encoding leptin, a hormone that is usually secreted in cause body-fat mass (Ebbeling et.al 474). Studies continue to indicate that genes and perinatal factors also contribute to obesity, and they should not be underrated. Despite a correlation in weight gain amongst identical twins, people are advised not to blame genetics because exposure to a particular diet and lifestyle contributes to excessive weight gain. For people to maintain a stable weight, they must be concerned with balancing between energy intake and expenditures (Birch et.al 895). This will play a greater role that will help them maintain a healthy body because they will stay away from gaining excessive weight. When the children are very young, their siblings try their best to balance the intake but as they grow up, external cues present problems and most children loses the innate ability to balance the intake of calories (Reilly et.al 1357). As a result, the children are exposed to risks of developing excess weight.
On its own, genetics does not cause obesity but increase the susceptibility to the condition when energy imbalance takes place. The environmental changes have the ability directly to influence energy expenditure resulting in weight gain in susceptible populations. Researchers have indicated that drawing the correlation between parent and the child BMI remains a hard task at the moment (Anderson, Patricia, and Butcher 38).
The interaction between parents and children, as well as the home environment, are risk factors to obesity. Research conducted by Ebbeling et.al indicated that time spent in watching TV had changed the eating behaviors and trends in most families. The findings also established , “children consume more energy when meals are eaten in restaurants than home probably because foods served in restaurants have large portions of energy-dense foods” (Ebbeling et.al 476). When a family eats dinner together, the quality of the diet automatically improves. They develop a behavior of consuming less saturated and trans fat, more fiber, less fried food, fruits and vegetables, and fewer soft drinks. In addition, parental and social support influences the participation of children in physical activity. The findings of the study indicated that psychosocial factors to dietary and physical activity affected individuals’ energy balance. The children who were neglected developed depression and this increased the risks of developing obesity during their younger days as well as later in life. These children did not practice healthy eating habits, as a result, their health deteriorated as they were affected with obesity. The parents have a role to play to ensure that children are exposed to a favorable and conducive environment that reduces the risk factors associated with obesity (Birch et.al 894).
The effect of watching Television
Ebbeling et.al raised concerns over the effect of watching television and the particular interest on obesity risk (p.475). Television advertisements on junk foods and other energy-dense meals shape the eating behaviors of many children. The dietary patterns in most families are affected since it leads to the consumption of excessive amounts of calories by many children. Children from United States and Britain come across more than ten advertisements for fast foods, soft drinks, and other sugary materials (Wells et.al 1044). The commercials that are run for more than 30 seconds, influences children who are between 3-5 years to opt choosing the advertised foods whenever they are presented with choices. Ebbeling et.al claimed, “Television viewing is thought to promote weight gain not only by displacing physical activity, but also by increasing energy intake” (p.475). Furthermore, when people are watching television during the mealtime, they made end up consuming products that not healthy to their body. Researchers have noted that most ads fail to advertise fruits and vegetables, and this affects the population when making decisions concerning meals. An experimental study conducted by Robinson reflected the increase in the measures of adiposity in children who frequently watched the TV throughout their free time. Contrariwise, a 40% decrease was noted in the control group that contained children who were restricted to watching Television (Ebbeling et.al 475).
Type of interventions
The research conducted focused on childhood obesity preventions strategies with an aim of preventing children from gaining excessive body weight as well as reducing risk factors of developing obesity (Youfa et al. 8). Interventions to prevent childhood obesity mostly aim to modify diet, sedentary activity or physical activity. In order to compare the effectiveness of the intervention, the research was conducted on two groups, one that receive day care, and another group without intervention.
This kind of intervention took place mainly in school (Youfam et al. 8). However, it involved parents or community and home activities.
This kind of intervention took place primarily in children’s home. For example interventions to change the food bought for home consumption and family fitness.
This kind intervention has a setting of where the children receive non-parental care, a setting outside the home (Youfa et al. 8).
The evidence is solid to support most of the interventions. The school-based interventions apply studies of physical activities that improve obesity outcomes. Home based and childcare-based interventions targeted a decline in sedentary activity that may have resulted in the real outcomes of childhood obesity. The combination of physical activities and diet interventions in home and schools similarly successfully improved outcomes.
In home-based interventions, the strength of evidence is low to prove diet and physical activity administered at home prevent childhood obesity or overweight in children. The interventions with importance parental involvement were able to demonstrate some effect on select intermediate outcomes (Youfa, et al. 17). The poor quality of the children cares studies may have resulted in the weakening impact on weight outcomes. The school-based interventions reported the major beneficial impact of the interventions statistically compared with the control in at least some of the body weight-related measures. For instance, BMI, the prevalence of overweight and obesity, BMI z-score, waist circumference and percent body fat (Youfa et al. 18).
Typically, this means a less sharp increase over time in the intervention group is relative to the control group. In addition, almost all of the studies that reported outcomes concerning intermediate results noticed some statistically major desirable impact, for example, increased vegetable and fruit consumption or increased physical activity. Moreover, from studies that stated clinical outcomes noticed some statically necessary impacts predominately reduced blood pressure (Youfa et al. 19). In conclusion, educational interventions were less expected to be of benefit than environmental changes. However, after the analysis if children are exposed to many other influences outside the school. Fortunately, interventions applied in school will have an importance effects on weight and childhood obesity.
The objectives of the literature review are to give effective interventions in the context of weight management in children. Behaviors are shaped in childhood, and children make their stepping stones to their future. Advancement in technology has left countless children adopting sedentary lifestyles resulting in the abundance of high-caloric foods availability (Masood, 8). According to the research, children are becoming heavier day-in-day-out than never before. The paper put in consideration the issue of childhood obesity since new cases of diagnosed diabetes in adolescent and children accounts for up to 46%. In addition, overweight teenagers and children are vulnerable to the significant risk of emotional and physical problems and there is a high possibility for them to become overweight adults.
If childhood obesity issue is not addressed, we are at risk of levitating the first generation of children who will not endure their parents. The families together with the society have a vital role in educating the children about the significance of eating healthier. For an average child, three meals each day is enough, snacking one or two times each day is also essential for their growth and nutrients needed by their body (West & Saffin, 19). Parents should be role models of healthy eating to their children. The societies also play a role in preventing childhood obesity. Addressing the nation on childhood obesity epidemic should not only focus on changing the children behavior, but also improving the environment so that healthy option can be available.
Pharmacological and surgical treatments
There is the need for physicians to develop anti-obesity agents that will reduce the high rates of obesity cases within the population. The pharmacological manipulation must target the increasing endogenous molecules that directly influence the body weight. These molecules include leptin, 4 receptor, hypothalamic melanocortin, and mitochondrial uncoupling proteins. The pharmacological cure is necessary since previous treatment drugs imposed life-threatening complications to individuals. The need to come up with life-long treatment will be beneficial because it will guarantee the quality of life to the affected individuals. Bariatric surgery is used in the treatment of chronic obesity in children, but it must he handled with care because it can result in perioperative mortality, bowel obstruction, wound dehiscence and gastrointestinal bleeding when not properly handled.
As illustrated in the context above, childhood obesity is a public health crisis that requires more attention because the rates are increasing at an alarming rate. The current situation requires the policy makers to advocate for more resources that will ensure that research is conducted in new dietary, behavioral environment, physical activity, and pharmacological approaches. The main aims will establish effective prevention and treatment approaches of obesity menace. The family-based and school-based programs must be introduced to create awareness about the dangers of obesity within the population. The issue is complicated since it requires the active participation of stakeholders to be eliminated, and this is a big challenge. The political will is another important aspect that determines the financial investment allocated to sort out the issue. It is important to not only be concerned about the short-term effects, but also consider the long effects that may jeopardize the lives of the future generations because of poor healthy caused by obesity.
Anderson, Patricia M., and Kristin F. Butcher. "Childhood obesity: trends and potential causes." The Future of children 16.1 (2006): 19-45.
Birch, Leann Lipps, and Kirsten Krahnstoever Davison. "Family environmental factors influencing the developing behavioral controls of food intake and childhood overweight." Pediatric Clinics of North America 48.4 (2001): 893-907.
Ebbeling, Cara B., Dorota B. Pawlak, and David S. Ludwig. "Childhood obesity: public-health crisis, common sense cure." The lancet 360.9331 (2002): 473-482.
Lossing, Carrie Beth. Childhood Obesity: Prevention & Intervention. Diss. California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, 2010. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.calpoly.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1010&context=psycdsp&sei-redir=1&referer=http%3A%2F%2Fscholar.google.com%2Fscholar%3Fq%3DChildhood%2BObesity%253A%2BPrevention%2B%2526%2BIntervention%26btnG%3D%26hl%3Den%26as_sdt%3D0%252C5
Masood, Talha. "A Literature Review of Prevention and Treatment Plans of Overweight and Obese Children and Adults for Medical Professionals." (2010). Retrieved from http://eatplay521.com/attachments/LiteratureReviewOfOverweightandObeseChildrenandAdultsRevision.pdf
Reilly, John J., et al. "Early life risk factors for obesity in childhood: cohort study." Bmj 330.7504 (2005): 1357.
Wang, Youfa, et al. "Childhood obesity prevention programs: comparative effectiveness review and meta-analysis." (2013). Retrieved form http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK148737/
Wells, J. C. K., et al. "Sleep patterns and television viewing in relation to obesity and blood pressure: evidence from an adolescent Brazilian birth cohort." International journal of obesity 32.7 (2008): 1042-1049.
West, D., and K. Saffin. "Literature review: Brief interventions and childhood obesity." North West and London Teaching Public Health Networks. Retrieved August 13 (2008): 2008. Retrieved from http://phorcast.org.uk/document_store/1286787041_KbjK_ltphn_obestity_review_level_1.pdf
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