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Obesity in Adolescents and Children

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The rapid increase of obesity among children and adolescents in the United States is considered as a population threat. According to the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion about 9 million young people face possible type 2 diabetes, previously considered an adult disease, high cholesterol level and high blood pressure which are risk factors for heart disease. But who is to blame? Where is the problem? What can be done to prevent obesity among young people in the United States?

How could it happen that according to the National Centre for Health Statistics 15% of youngsters ages 6 to 19 and 10 % of children 2 through 5 were considered seriously overweight in 2000, while in 1980 it was only 6%?1 Imbalance between food consumption and energy expenditure is the main cause of obesity and overweight-that’s well known fact. Unhealthy eating patterns and/or lack of physical activity as well as genetics and lifestyle play important role in child’s weight. Let’s focus on some of the main reasons why overweight is such a serious problem among people under 19 years of age in the United States.

It would be quite difficult to find a child or teenager who does not love fast food. It does not taste „strange“, it is easy to eat, it is quick, cheap, plus one can have a great fun playing in special child corners. Fast food has a great tradition in the United States. It is popular among people of all age but unfortunately is also one of the reasons why Americans are so obese. Who should be better role models for children than their own parents? However, reality is such that each day, 1 in 4 Americans visits a fast food restaurant. Bad eating habits among adults in the United States are alarming. Researches show that while in 1972, 3 billion a year were spent on fast food, today people spend more than 110 billion, according to the various researches made specially for an american documentary movie Super Size Me that deals with the problem of obesity influenced by eating too much fast food.2 The fact that television, computer and video games contribute to nowadays children's inactive lifestyles, as is shown on the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion website, more than a third of youngsters from grades 9-12 do not get enough of a physical activity as they should in their age, even multiplies the chance of be...

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...creation programs, meeting of experts to examine societal-based solutions to obesity or training programs for medical and other health professionals.

It is difficult to say who is responsible for such a high number of overweight and obese children and adolescents in the United States. Sedentary lifestyle, unhealthy eating habits, commercial pressure and little interest in prevention are just some of the factors contributing to the problem. However, there have been various prevention programs established to prevent this problem and in few years statistics will show if they were any good or not.

Works Cited

United States Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Overweight and Obesity State Programs” (October 06, 2004), http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/dnpa/obesity/state_programs/index.htm

U.S. Department of Health&Human Services, “Overweight and Obesity: Health Consequences”, http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obesity

Better Health USA Editor, ©2001-2003 Better Health USA Partnering with Immuno Laboratories, Inc. serving the world since 1978, “Overweight and Obesity in Children”, http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/227.cfm