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Childhood Obesity Terence Steward II Beloit College, Beloit, WI Abstract: The United States Center for Disease Control found that 67% of American adults.

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Presentation on theme: "Childhood Obesity Terence Steward II Beloit College, Beloit, WI Abstract: The United States Center for Disease Control found that 67% of American adults."— Presentation transcript:

1 Childhood Obesity Terence Steward II Beloit College, Beloit, WI Abstract: The United States Center for Disease Control found that 67% of American adults and above 30% of children in the States are overweight or obese – a condition putting them at risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Childhood obesity is a serious acquired condition that affects toddlers, children, and adolescents. This disease occurs when a child is well above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Obesity is a life threatening disease that can take control of an innocent child’s life in what seems like just a blink. Obesity is particularly troubling because of the extra pounds already on children at a young age. The extra pounds are the catalyst towards developing excessive fat cells, ultimately resulting in obesity. My hypothesis is that there are particular strategies to help children control weight effectively. The two most effective general strategies to reduce childhood obesity are to improve dieting and exercise habits. Not only will the changes for the child be beneficial, but the entire family as well. With intimate family support, the growth of obesity in children can decrease. Good nutrition guidelines must be effectively communicated to nutritional providers of children. Children who learn how to eat well will be happier and more active, ultimately fighting the obesity epidemic. Introduction: Since the 1960s, the prevalence of overweight children in the United States has tripled. An estimated one out of five children in the US is overweight and considered obese, including toddlers and preschoolers. Childhood obesity is a result of an excessive intake of calories and the lack of sufficient exercise. Calories are essential for energy, but changing the type of calorie consumed by most children in 2010 is imperative. The result of consuming sugar and sodium based foods is obesity. Due to socioeconomic factors, populations such as Hispanic, African American and Native Americans are most affected by obesity. Accessibility to nutrient dense foods for these ethnicities is difficult, and calorie dense foods are the available alternative. Communities that lack social status and economic power are where these ethnicities must survive. Obesity consists of fat cells accumulated in various sections in the body. The most hazardousto health are abdominal fat cells. Children who are in control of their own diets and do not have the knowledge of proper nutrition tend to be the majority who suffer. The main cause of obesity is the child’s lifestyle. Easy access transportation has replaced walking and public transportation. Computers and video game systems have replaced outdoor games, physical activities and extra-curricular activities, which make children vigorously active. Processed, fatty and junk foods like ice- cream, pizza and hamburgers have replaced healthy cooked food for convenience and comfort foods. Genetics are assumed to be a key reason as to why children are developing obesity, but case studies (Mayo Clinic, 2010) have proven biological sources are not the primary cause. Environmental sources are the main connection to obesity. Genes can be dominant or recessive. A child can have an obese gene, but not develop poor eating and exercise habits. Kids eating too much and not exercising enough are not biological issues, but environmental, especially social and psychological. One of the many non-genetic causes of obesity in childhood is the imbalance between the input energy (food) and the output energy (exercise). Social and economic factors play a huge role in the escalation of childhood obesity. Populations such as Hispanic, African-American and Native American are the main ethnicities which are affected by childhood obesity. Studies indicate that more than 85 percent of the 35-40% obesity rate is caused by socioeconomics, not genetics or innate physiology. The percentage body fat that makes the difference between a fat person and an obese one is different for boys and girls. For boys obese means 25% of the body weight is fat while as for the girls the percentage is 32%. There is a mistaken distinction with children carrying extra weight and being obese. Body Mass Index (BMI) indicates if a child is overweight or obese by calculating the current height, weight, and body frame with the predetermined statistics of these categories. Figure 1 – This image illustrates the cycle a child goes through with the influences of parental control. Figure 2 – This image illustrates the evolution of childhood obesity since 1970 to Method of Plan: In order to fight the continuation of childhood obesity, proper exercise and strict dieting is vital. A high level of fats in the body can lead to heart diseases and blood pressure issues. The heart has to pump more blood to reach all the tissues in the body because of the fat cells compressing the muscle fibers. Excessive cholesterol in the blood being pumped throughout the body increases the risk of a child developing plaque in the arteries, high blood pressure, pulmonary problems, asthma and type II diabetes. Parents need to design a diet for their children. Replacing the chips and soda pop with healthier snacks, like fruit, yogurt or home cooked snacks provides healthier options. The diet should include a variety of proteins, vegetables, fibers, carbohydrates, and healthy polyunsaturated and omega-3 fats. Not only should the child be on a strict diet, but close family members should also change dieting habits to alleviate any anxiety or insecurities the child has about being on a diet. A child mimics the parent’s behavior – no matter what the age of the child is. If a child sees parents eating healthier foods and making healthier choices, then the child will begin to do the same without any hesitation. Along with a strict diet, daily exercise is essential for burning fat, preventing increased growth of fat cells, and building a sense of well-being. For a child, physical activity is a must. At least 60 minutes a day should be dedicated to some type of vigorous activity; whether the action is bike riding on a trail, brisk walking, outside cardiovascular games, athletics – any motion to increase the heartbeat. Physical activity is not only critical to fight against fat cells, but key to fight against muscle loss and fat accumulation in muscle cells. However, because a fat belly is much more hazardous than fat hips, the more accurate measure of obesity is the waist-hip ratio (Price et al, 2006). A WHR of 0.7 for women and 0.9 for men have been shown to correlate strongly with general health and fertility (Dobbelsteyn CJ et al, 2001). Discussion: For an obese child to switch to a balanced lifestyle, proper dieting and sufficient exercise will lead to healthy weight loss and nutritional gain. Around puberty, children’s bodies begin to change. Some bodies quickly change for the better, while other bodies are not as fast to respond to adjustments. When dealing with youth, appearances are cared about fervently. Pre-teens and teenagers fighting with obesity go through identity crises. With a society that marginalizes those who are fat as insignificant and ugly, that can wear and tear a child’s confidence, self- esteem, and assurance. Although the obese child may be placed on a healthier diet and begin appropriately exercising, the physical features will not match the effort instantly. Psychological disorders including depression, bulemia and anorexia are most evident with obese children when dealing with social stigmatization (Lutter and Nestler, 2009).. Some children overeat to cope with problems or emotions like stress, boredom, depression, and low self-esteem. These effects can hinder a child’s development in academia and social functioning. References: Botton, J. et al, “Postnatal weight and height growth velocities at different ages between birth and 5 y and body composition in adolescent boys and girls”, AJCN 87: (2008). Children’s Eating Laboratory, "Childhood Overweight." The Obesity Society. (2001) Web. 29 Oct d Mayo Clinic, "Childhood Obesity.” (2010). Web. 29 Oct Big Boys in Training, The Vicious Cycle of Childhood Obesity." Web. 2 Nov fresh! Healthy Vending, "Childhood Obesity.". Web. 2 Nov Elements4Health. Web. 2 Nov Vreeland Clinic, "Solving Childhood Obesity – Part II – Chemical Exposures." The Vreeland Clinic's Blog. (2010) Web. 2 Nov Sizer, F. and E. Whitney. Nutrition: Concepts and Controversies. 11th. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, (2007). Print. Wardlaw, Gordon, and Anne Smith. Contemporary Nutrition. 7th. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, Print. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Childhood Obesity.” Web. 2 Nov Price, G.M. et al, “Weight, shape, and mortality risk in older persons: elevated waist-hip ratio, not high body mass index, is associated with a greater risk of death”, AJCN 84: (2006). Dobbelsteyn CJ et al, "A comparative evaluation of waist circumference, waist-to-hip ratio and body mass index as indicators of cardiovascular risk factors. The Canadian Heart Health Surveys". Int. J. Obes. Relat. Metab. Disord. 25: 652– 61 (2001). Lutter, M. and E. J. Nestler, “Homeostatic and Hedonic Signals Interact in the Regulation of Food Intake”, J. Nutr. 139: (2009). Conclusion: Fighting childhood obesity is quite the challenge. An adolescent battling obesity may find it twice as difficult as an adult. Even with proper dieting and dynamic exercising, psychological effects can overpower the most positive results. Providing an obese child with tremendous amount of support and conformity to a healthier lifestyle will give the child hope and successfully bring a healthy life and spirit to the child. Obesity will then be defeated.


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