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Research Paper on Childhood Obesity

Obesity is not only a concern among adults, but among children, too. This is now a public health crisis, especially in cases of childhood obesity, where the range of weight in children is much greater than what is considered the ideal weight. However, considering that the ideal weight differs due to many factors such as height of the child, a measure of weight was introduced in order to determine obesity. The BMI or the Body Mass Index helps determine obesity, but also serves as an anthropometric index for risk of cardiovascular health issues.1

Childhood obesity is a result of a certain imbalance between the calories a child uses and intakes. Normally, the amount of calories a child will consume through the food or the beverages are not utilized fully in terms of development, metabolism, growth and physical activities. When this happens, it is safe to say that we are speaking of childhood obesity. Therefore, the main factors for childhood obesity are behavioral, environmental and genetic. 2

The genetic factors that lead to obesity in children are those that increase a child's susceptibility for gaining extra weight. Such factors can change the fat content in the body and influence the metabolism. In many cases, obesity in parents can influence childhood obesity.

Behavioral factors for obesity in children include consumption of large portions of food, energy-rich foods and foods high in sugar. In such cases, the intake of energy is higher than the utilization of energy, which may lead to weight gain. Additionally, even those children who do not consume grand quantities of food can be obese due to lack of physical activity, which would lead to improper balance of the energy. At this point where children spend most of their time in front of the computer or the television, the childhood obesity becomes a big problem in the society.

The third factor are the environmental factors, which can be present in various settings such as te schools, homes and communities. It is crucial for parents to interact with their children in order to motivate them to eat healthy and live a healthy lifestyle. Schools can also promote physical activity, combined with healthy choices, while the community's lack of affordable healthy food needs to start changing in order to reduce childhood obesity.

Childhood obesity is closely associated to many health-related issues and health risks in adulthood. This does not only refer to psychological or social issues, where children feel discriminated in the society, but also to serious health problems such as respiratory problems, high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes or issues with the musculoskeletal system.3 Therefore, it is crucial that both the society and the families intervene in childhood obesity, mostly through helping and influencing children to change their behaviors and lifestyle. If a child is taught how to eat healthy and spend the energy they intake, this would greatly reduce childhood obesity.

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