Childhood Obesity : A Fast Growing Problem Within The United States Essay

Childhood Obesity : A Fast Growing Problem Within The United States Essay

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Childhood obesity is a fast growing problem within the United States. It affects 18% of children 6 to 11 years old and 21% of teens 12 to 16 years old. What exactly is Obesity? What causes childhood obesity? How can it be treated? What are the long term health effects and how can childhood obesity be prevented? These are some of the issues being explored throughout this paper.
The CDC (Center for Disease Control) defines obesity as having excess body fat (CDC). Whereas overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Being overweight or obese is often caused by a caloric imbalance as well as other various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Childhood obesity has been on the rise since the 1980’s. In 1980 childhood obesity in children ages 6 to 11 years old was measured at 7%, and 5% percent for teens aged 12 to 19 years old, in the United States. In 2012 it jumped to 18% for children aged 6 to 11 years old, and 21% in teens 12 to 19 years old in the United States. These are the numbers, but what are the factors that cause childhood obesity?
The causes of childhood obesity have been widely debated, but most agree it is caused by a caloric imbalance. A caloric imbalance is when you consume more calories than you expend. In children this occurs when too much junk food or too many sugary drinks are consumed. Fast food and processed foods full of empty calories also play a big part. Empty calories are calories from solid fats and added sugars that contain no real nutritional value. This combined with lack of physical activity is the perfect recipe for weight gain. The CDC recommends at least sixty minutes of physical activity a day...

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...ldhood obesity affects 18% of children 6 to 11 years old and 21% of teens 12 to 16 years old. Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat, and should not be confused with being overweight. It is caused by a caloric imbalance, lack of exercise, and poor diet choices. Obesity can carry mild to severe health, and social consequences. Although, all is not lost for an obese child, as it can be treated with a pediatrician approved exercise regimen. A good diet, possibly laid out by a dietitian will also go a long way. Therapy may also be needed to find a root cause of overeating, and help deal with being bullied. Prevention however is the best cure. Childhood obesity can be prevented with good diet choices, and at least 60 minutes of physical activity per day. If a child learns good eating and exercise habits early in life chances are they will not struggle as adults.

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