Childhood Obesity Essay

Childhood Obesity Essay

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According to Center for Health, nearly one-third of children ages 6 to 19 years are either obese or at risk of becoming obese. Statistics indicate that the rate of obesity for boys and girls are similar, despite the marked increase in the number of overweight children from 1960 to 2002 (Childhood overweight, 2005). Moreover, the prevalence of childhood obesity has almost tripled in the past two decades, from 6.5% in 1980 to 18.8% in 2004 (Irwin et al., 2010). Morbid or extreme obesity is no longer a health concern exclusive to the adult population.

More and more children, especially of schoolage years, are becoming obese and experiencing health problems as a result. There are many causes of obesity in children and adolescents, which include genetic predisposition, socio-economic status, poor dietary habits and physical inactivity. Physical inactivity is one of the major contributors to childhood obesity. The national recommendation for children aged five and above is at least 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity each day (Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology, 2010).

However, results from the School Health Policies and Program Study indicate that only 3.8% of elementary schools offered daily physical education classes (McKenzie et al., 2010). Although the daily recommendation of physical activity is only 60 minutes a day, many primary and elementary schools do not provide the requisite amount of physical activity needed for optimal growth and development. Budget cuts and increased emphasis on academic performance have prompted many schools to cut back on physical education. Some schools even went as far as eliminating physical education classes altogether (Gaus & Simpson, 2009).

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...p, 2004) Vermeer et al. (2001) found that children with asthmatic conditions who participated in physical activity had better endurance and athletic performance. Increase in endurance and athletic performance allowed children to exercise longer and at a much greater intensity before becoming fatigued. They also found that with increased cardiovascular fitness, children suffered less anxiety about their conditions and were able to better cope with the associated symptoms. Another important known benefit of physical activity is health improvements.

In general, children are more active than adults. However, as they grow older, their levels of physical activity begin to decline. This is a big problem because poor activity habits formed in childhood can carry over into adulthood and spill onto their own children, perpetuating the cycle of obesity (Huhman et al., 2010).

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