Childhood Obesity: The Need For a Healthy Lifestyle

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“The nation’s obesity epidemic has become so bad that it has taken over tobacco as the leading cause of preventable diseases” (Gaffney). Health care costs linked to obesity and resulting conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are greater than those related to smoking and excessive drinking (Gaffney). A child between the ages two to nineteen with a body mass index above the ninety-fifth percentile for his/her age, height, and sex by today’s standards are obese (Singhal). This problem is a serious medical condition and can affect many children for years to come. Today in the United States, more than seventeen percent of all children are obese (Marcus). Obesity in children is an epidemic that has been rising for the past decade. In 1999 and 2000, according to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “an estimated fifteen percent of American children were overweight, more than three times the amount there were in 1990” (D, Andrew). Many factors play a pivotal role in the rise of obesity, such as environment, lifestyle, and genetics. So many children are obese today because of over consumption of calories and reduced physical activity. Obesity is a disorder that has many causes and one that has never been fully understood. It is among the easiest of medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat. Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise. Today’s generation is predicted to not outlive the generation before them. When one is obese, adolescence can be difficult. Because childhood obesity causes diseases and psychological problems, parents and the school education system must take immediate action.

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