Obesity is on the rise in America. News articles and scientific reports unanimously agree that America is becoming the most overweight country in the world, and other developing countries are not far behind. In addition, these countries' children are now becoming as overweight as their parents and other adults. Unlike these adults, children seldom have the knowledge and control over their lifestyle to contribute to either health or obesity. Prominent researchers in the field exemplify the need for quick action. They state, "The effects of childhood obesity on morbidity and mortality indicate that effective prevention and therapy for childhood obesity are likely to have a significant impact on adult disease" (Gortmaker 100). This paper discusses different arguments in the research to decrease the percentage of overweight children. Modifications in diet, increased cardiovascular health, and behavior modification programs are the three competing fields, each differing in their actions and reasons for effectiveness.
Before discussing the ways to control childhood obesity, it is necessary to look at what the problem is and how prevalent it has become. The accepted clinical diagnosis for being overweight is a triceps skinfold measurement to estimate a person's body mass index (BMI). Although somewhat arbitrary, if this BMI is 85% or more above the average, a person is considered overweight (Harlan 1). According to the Center for Disease Control, "The percentage of young people who are overweight has almost doubled in the past 20 years" (United States Department of Health 4). In order to understand what these statistics mean, it is imperative to look at the effects of being o...
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United Stated Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Online Division. 17 March 2001.
Allison, David B. and F. Xavier Pi-Sunyer. Obesity Treatment: Establishing Goals, Improving Outcomes, and Reviewing the Research Agenda. New York: Plenum Press, 1995.
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United States Senate. (1999, November 20). "Physical Education for Progress Act (PEP)." Senate Bill 1159 (S. 1159.IS). Online. 16 March 2001.
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