Too many individuals who are affected by the Childhood Obesity epidemic are refusing to discuss it. Thus, the epidemic continues to growth at a feverish pace in American society. Over the past 30 years Childhood Obesity has more than tripled. The spread of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. In addition, adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. If this is not an alarm for a call to action, then I don’t know what else will galvanize us to act on safeguarding our children’s health.
Obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed) and is mediated by genetic, behavioral and environmental factors. The main factors being Genetics, Perinatal ( obese mothers giving birth, maternal smoking between 28-32 weeks’ gestation), Early Life Factors ( infant birth weight, sleep duration), Diet and Physical Activity. Children stricken with the above factors are mostly likely to be obese. Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
The National Longitudinal Survey of Youth study revealed that obese children with decreasing levels of self-esteem demonstrated significantly higher rates of sadness, loneliness, nervousness and are more likely to engage in high-risk behaviors such as smoking or consuming alcohol. As you can discerned, there is nothing but bad news associated with childhood obesity. We must save our children from this epidemic. Everyone can help by encouraging children to eat healthy, nutritious foods and avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Enlist them in sporting activities and monitor the time they sit at home computers or laptops.
The time has come for us to be honest and courageous by arresting the childhood obesity epidemic. Ignoring this mostly curable epidemic is killing our children and adding astronomical costs to families healthcare expenses. We must save our children from a life of lack of self-esteem – the potential result of childhood obesity.