The Epidemic of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

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Every year in the United States, obesity rates among adolescents and children continue to steadily increase. It was calculated that in 2010, nearly 17 percent of children throughout the United States were considered obese, (U.S. Obesity Trends). Bearing in mind these statistics, and this escalating dilemma, parents encouraging their children to engage in physical activity can help prevent weight problems, which could eventually result in possible health risks in the future. Childhood obesity rates, as well as the potential for health risks, have increased over the past few decades as a result of inactivity, poor nutrition, and unfortunately genetics. However, with proper education, resources and motivation, this epidemic can be controlled leading to longer and healthier lives.
Obesity is a significant health concern in adolescents and children that has both immediate and long-term health effects. Cardiovascular problems such as high cholesterol and blood pressure, the development of pre-diabetes, bone or joint issues, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems are all immediate health risks amongst obese children and adolescents, (Health Effects of Childhood Obesity). With immediate health problems come long-term effects: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, strokes, and many types of cancers. Being familiar with the difference between the definitions of the terms overweight and obesity are also very important in distinguishing health risks amongst the two despite the difference in severity. Overweight is defined as one’s total body weight that is above the recommended range for good health, while obesity is considered to be a severe excess of body weight characterized by excessive increase of body fat. A child’s body mass in...

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