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Obesity is in the rise becoming a major public health risk among children in both poor and rich countries. The rates have been shown through recent research to double globally. A major contributing factor has been the change in people's ways of life in relation to eating habits. In this paper therefore am going to discuss the question, Why is childhood obesity increasing and can be done to prevent it?
Basically, obesity is caused by poor eating habits and lack of disciplined exercising. Thus the amount of energy consumed is more than the energy spent by the body as a result of limited activity level. Obesity has the potential of increasing the death rates and lifestyle disease prevalence in a person's lifecycle. Obese infants stand higher chances of obesity during adulthood. They are also vulnerable to accompanying health risks and nutritional disorders e.g. diabetes. Its related disorders include Hypertension, Dyslipidemia, increased metabolic disorders related to insulin functioning and diabetes mellitus type II which is now a popular type of diabetes among children (Cole, Bellizzi, Flegal & Dietz, 2000).
Increasing obesity trends in childhood
Cases of obesity have been increasing worldwide especially among children under five years. This increasing trend has been exhibited across all races. A study in the United States by national health and nutrition surveys indicated a high increase in the cases at 85th to 95th percentiles of the weights of the infants, against their length and against height for those children above two years. Currently, close to 8% of children between the ages of 4 to 5 years suffer from this disorder, with girls more affected than boys of this age group. However .for the children above 6 years frequent cases of obesity have been doubing in both sexes. There has been a noted difference in the rates of increase in obesity alongside different ethnicities. For example, the study showed high rates in Mexican American children, seconded by non-Hispanic black children and in third place are the non-Hispanic Caucasian children. Additionally, industrialization has been found to have a positive impact on the increasing prevalence of this disease. A case study done in Japan revealed an increase in obesity in school going children of the ages 6 to 14 years to have gone up from 5% -10%. Not only industrialized countries but also underdeveloped countries have experienced an increase in cases in the recent past. An example of these includes countries in the east of Asia, South America, Peru, etc. Poor feeding habits and inadequate physical exercises among children and adults alike have been pointed out as the major causes (Bupa, 2009).
Treatment and prevention of obesity in children
The aim of treatment of obesity is to avoid excess body weight gain and prevention is geared towards gaining and maintaining of appropriate body weight. Besides the above objective, the other goal is to mitigate the effects of obesity and eradicate co morbidities like high blood pressure, diabetes type II, etc. Prevention of obesity in children starts right from perinatal stage and this involves good nutrition and health care practises, maintaining appropriate weight in pregnancy, treating diabetes immediately and nutrition education to mothers of child bearing age. Another measure involves proper and exclusive breast feeding for the first 6 months and the child's introduction to solid foods should also be delayed a bit. Children should be fed on healthy foods which include snacks with low fat content.
Children should also be advvised to take part in vigorous physical exercise and play daily. Kids should also spend as less time watching the television and playing video games as possible. A maximum of seven hours of television per week is highly recommended. Parents should become their kid's role models in terms of good nutrition practices and habits. During childhood, the children should monitored for an excess increase in BMI,if high there should regulation in their feeding to maintain appropriate weight for height (Ferry, 2007).
It is apparent that obesity among children is increasing at a very fast rate. Children of all races have been affected. The children of Mexican and American decent lead the pile. The increasing childhood obesity can be attributed to poor feeding and physical exercise habits. Today, children are being exposed to foods with high fat content while proper nutrition is given less consideration. Most parents don't encourage their children to take part in physical exercises. Most of them thus spend most of their time watching television and playing video games. Proper food nutrition among children is one major tool that can be used counter obesity. Parents are also encouraged to ensure that their kids are involved in physical activities to help them keep fit.
The writers from which this work has been sourced don't appear to be biased in every manner. Although the statistics about obesity in children might not be entirely true, the views on obesity are very accurate. The causes and preventive measures that they have proposed are very relevant and accurate.
Obesity in children is an issue that should be addressed urgently. It should be understood that obesity in children has a direct influence on adult obesity. People obese in their young life in most cases usually proceed to become obese in their adulthood if they don't get immediate help.