Almost two thirds of Americans are considered overweight or obese. Some feel that it has reached epidemic proportions here and around the world. The most concerning part of this is that 15% of children in this country are considered to be overweight. It was only a few short decades ago that this figure stood at 4%.
Diseases that were only seen in adults just a few short years ago are now being found in our children and adolescents. Obese children run a much higher chance of contracting diseases such as osteoarthritis or having heart attacks and strokes as they get older. Even the youngest members of our society are affected with 10% of preschoolers being overweight.
Childhood obesity is the leading cause of pediatric hypertension along with increasing the risk factor of a child coming down with diabetes and heart disease. But the most concerning consequence is the peer pressure and psychological pressure that can cause the child to go into periods of depression. These social and peer pressures are the main consequence of childhood obesity.
While it is true that not all obese infants grow to be obese children and not all obese children will become obese adults it is important to understand the risk factors. These can include a combination of genetics, family history, psychological and nutritional.
Family plays an important role. Statistic show that children born to parents that are obese have a higher chance of being born obese or developing the condition over time. There can be several factors that affect this. The parents could have a very sedimentary lifestyle that does not include the proper exercise, they could have poor nutritional habits or genetics could come into play.
If a child is inactive this can lead to obesity. Previous generations of children spent a lot of time outdoors and in turn were much more active. Now children spend much more time indoors on computers or in front of a television set. Becoming couch potatoes and putting on weight is not good for any child. If a child develops these bad habits at an early age it is more likely that they will become overweight and that will develop into obesity at some point. Children need physical exercise and as parents we need to make sure they are getting the proper amount each day.
Nutrition is another important factor. We live in a world of fast and processed foods that have little nutritional value. Children that eat this type of diet are not getting the proper nutrition that they need. One thing that is interesting to note is that with all we have learned over the last couple of decades in the field of nutrition the word is not getting out. One factor that may be to blame for this is information overload. People have so much information that they are confused as to how to interpret it. There are three websites that help people make sense of all this information and have issued some very helpful guidelines. They are The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), The American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association.
Heredity could also a factor in obesity. We all know children that do not eat a nutritious diet and have little to no exercise yet they are not overweight or obese. This is the reason that researchers thought it would be interesting to look at heredity as a factor. We know that an infant born to an overweight mother generally gains more weight in the first three months of life than infants that are not. Could this imply an inborn drive to conserve energy? As more research is done in this area it will be interesting to see what conclusions are drawn.
The fact is that childhood obesity is much easier to prevent than it is going to be to deal with all of the negative health implications it will cause in the future. The very first step is in educating parents. They need to be aware of the importance of proper nutrition, exercise and breast feeding. They also need to be introduced to low fat snack foods and what proper nutrition actually entails. In cases where the problem is heredity they need to know how to teach their children self esteem and cope with any psychological problems as they arise.
Author Bio: John Bradstreet is an experienced Biochemist with extensive knowledge in nutritional supplementation. He is committed to a healthy lifestyle through natural means. To learn more about childhood obesity we have included additional links at the bottom of the page to help educate you on the subject. Or you can subscribe to our Vitamin and Supplement blog where you will find information on topics concerning natural supplementation
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