Obesity is the most distinct medical condition but the most difficult condition to treat. Obesity is the result of calorie imbalance. Obesity is commonly caused by overeating and lack of exercise although there are genetic diseases and hormonal disorders that can cause obesity. When children eat more than they need, the extra calories are stored in fat cells to use for energy later. If this pattern continues over time, they develop more fat cells and may develop obesity.
“More die in the United States of too much food than of too little” ― John Kenneth Galbraith Why are Americans getting bigger by the day? And what's so bad about that anyway? Studies have shown that there are many negative effects associated with obesity. Obesity has been accused of contributing to many long-term conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, diabetes and cancer (Pennybacker 15). Along with the fact that obesity is the most common form of malnutrition in the Western world, it also affects sixty-four percent of Americans (Pennybacker 15; Brownell 1).
For these reasons, socioeconomic levels are associated with childhood obesity in North America. In summary, childhood obesity in North America results from three major causes, which are poor diet, lack of exercise, and low socioeconomic level. Childhood obesity is caused by poor diet including eating fast food, lack of vegetables, and drinking excessive amounts of juices. As well, childhood obesity results from lack of exercise because children don’t play outside, walk to school, or get physical activity. In addition, socioeconomic levels including a low income, uneducated parents, and poor-quality neighborhoods can lead to childhood obesity.
The rising numbers of obese children has reached an alarming rate. With many Americans, “…‘obesity’…carries the connotation of being extremely overweight. [But] health professionals define overweight as an excess amount of body weight that includes muscle, bone, fat and water; whereas obesity is specifically defined as an excess amount of body fat” (Andrews 1). More often than not we tend to switch these definitions and have false pretenses. Although, there are many health threats in the world today, “…childhood obesity (is) one of the leading health threats in the United States” (2).
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that can affect children and teenagers. It is diagnosed when a child is above the normal weight for his or her age and height. Obesity is “one of the most stigmatizing and least socially acceptable conditions in childhood” ("Childhood Obesity: Emotional Effects And Sedentary Lifestyles | Mollen Foundation Preventing Childhood Obesity"). Childhood obesity is really dangerous because all the extra pounds often start children on the path to bad health problems. Childhood obesity is becoming more and more common as the years go by.
“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).
One out of every three United State's children is considered to be obese. Most overweight and obese child is at risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and type 2 diabetes. According to Sandra G. Boodman (Jun 13, 1995) “studies have found that 40 percent of fat 7-years-old will grow up to be overweight adults, while 70 percent of overweight children between the ages of 10 and 13 will become fat adults." Children who become obese adults can suffer from many more health issues than the ones previously named. Obesity found in adulthood increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and a general poor health status.
In the past few years obesity among children has increased and has now become a major issue in this nation. Over twelve million children in the United States are obese and seven percent of those children are at risk of having type 2 diabetes. Obesity has become a burden to the United States economy and it is costing America $147 billion dollars a year. Are parents to blame for obese and overweight children or is society at fault? Obesity has been around for many years but has always been known to be an adult issue.
“My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of obesity” may be a more accurate depiction of the song “America” in today’s society (Fen). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 34.9 percent of adults in America were obese in 2011-2012, and the number of young people who are overweight has tripled since the 1980’s. Obesity is an epidemic that not only causes many health problems, but also puts people at a much higher risk for several other dangerous health issues. Obesity is affected by and effects many different aspects in one’s life. In the simplest terms, obesity is an abnormal increase in fat cells that causes a person’s weight to be more than what is considered healthy for their height (Obesity: MedlinePlus).
Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. Not only is the ‘average’ person growing larger in size, but the number of overweight individuals is increasing at an alarming rate. Many researchers discuss the issue of obesity providing statistics and lists of causes, but fail to give an adequate solution that works for the long term. For the most part, it is easy for one to gain weight; however it is very difficult to lose the extra pounds. There are many pieces to the obesity puzzle – diet, exercise, stress, and others (Guarino, 2013).