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Childhood Obesity

The world is undergoing a swift epidemiological and nutritional transition characterized by tenacious wholesome deficiencies, as proved by the occurrence of stunting, anaemia, and iron and zinc deficiencies. Concurrently, there is a progressive rise in the frequency of obesity, diabetes, and other nutrition-related chronic diseases (NCDs). Obesity has become an epidemic-level health threat in developed countries. The highest occurrence of childhood obesity has been observed in developed countries. However, it's increasing in developing countries too. Females are more likely to be obese, as compared to males, due to inherent hormonal differences. The history of Type 2 Diabetes and Coronary Heart Disease begins in childhood, with childhood obesity as an extensive factor. There has been a phenomenal rise, in the number of children having obesity in the last 40 years, especially in developed countries. Studies from different parts of India within the last ten years also point towards a similar trend.


Causes of Childhood Obesity


Obesity risk factors in children include dietary intake, physical activity, and lazy behaviour. The genetic factor amounts to less than 5% of incidents of childhood obesity. Therefore, genetics can play a part in the development of obesity, but it is not the reason for the significant increase in childhood obesity.


. Basal metabolic rate 


Basal metabolic rate is a possible reason for obesity. Basal metabolic rate, or metabolism, is the rate at which our body expense energy from normal resting functions. Basal metabolic rate is responsible for 60% of total energy expenditure in deskbound adults. Obese individuals have lower metabolic rates.


. Dietary factors have been studied broadly for their possible contributions to the rising rates of obesity. The dietary factors that have been inspected are fast food consumption, sugary beverages, snack foods, and portion sizes.


. Fast food Consumption


In recent years, increased fast food consumption has been linked with obesity. Foods served at fast-food restaurants contain a high number of calories with low nutritional values. Many research has shown weight gain with frequent eating of fast food.


. Sugary Beverages


A study examining children aged 9–14 found that consumption of sugary beverages increased BMI by slight amounts over the years. Sugary drinks are a potential contributive factor to obesity. Sugary drinks are very often thought of as being limited to soda, but juice and other sweetened beverages fall into this category. Many studies have linked sugary drink consumption and weight. It is found to be a contributing aspect to being obese. Sugary drinks are less filling and consumed quicker, which results in a greater caloric intake. 


. Snack Foods


Snack foods consumption is a contributing factor to childhood obesity. Snack foods include chips, baked goods, and candy. In many studies snacking has been shown to increase overall caloric intake. 


. Portion Size


Consuming large portions and regular snacking on high caloric foods result in an excessive caloric intake. This energy imbalance causes weight gain and subsequently obesity. 


. Activity Level


One of the significant factors linked to obesity is a lazy lifestyle. The increased amount of time spent on lazy behaviours has decreased the amount of time spent in physical activity. Research shows that the number of hours children spend watching TV is associated with how they consume most advertised goods, including sweetened cereals, sweets, sweetened beverages, and salty snacks.


. Socio-Cultural Factors


Socio-cultural factors also influence obesity. Our society uses food as a reward, as a way of controlling others, and as part of socializing. These foods can encourage unhealthy relationships with food, thereby increasing the risk of obesity.


. Psychological Factors


a. Depression


A recent study found a relationship between eating disturbances and depression. However, depression may be both a cause and a consequence of obesity. 


b. Eating Disorder Symptoms


Several studies have shown a higher occurrence of eating-related disorders (i.e. Anorexia, Bulimia Nervosa, and impulse regulation) in obese children. 


Consequences of Childhood Obesity


Childhood obesity can greatly affect a child's physical health, social, emotional well-being, and self-esteem. It is also linked, with poor academic performance and even lower quality of life experienced by the child.


. Medical Consequences


Childhood obesity is associated with many medical conditions. These conditions include sleep apnea, Type 2 diabetes, asthma, hepatic steatosis (fatty liver disease), cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, cholelithiasis (gallstones), glucose intolerance and insulin resistance, skin conditions, menstrual abnormalities, impaired balance, and orthopaedic problems. Recent studies show they are predominant in obese children. Most of the physical health issues associated with childhood obesity are avoidable and can disappear when a child reaches a hale and hearty weight, and some may continue to have a negative impact throughout adulthood. In the worst cases, some of these health conditions can even result in death.


. Socio-Emotional Consequence


In addition to numerous medical concerns, childhood obesity affects children's and adolescents’ social and emotional health. Obesity is one of the most stigmatizing and least socially acceptable conditions amongst children. 


Overweight and obese children are frequently bullied, for their weight. They face other hardships like negative stereotypes, discrimination, and social marginalization. Discrimination against obese children has been found at age as young as two years old. Obese children get excluded from competitive activities that require physical activity. It is generally difficult for overweight children to be part of physical activities as they tend to be slower than their peers and struggle with shortness of breath. These problems contribute to low self-esteem, low self-confidence, and a negative body image in children and affect academic performance.


. Academic Consequences


Childhood obesity is known to affect negatively on child’s school performance. A research study concluded that overweight and obese children were four times more likely to report having problems at school than their normal-weight peers. They are more likely to miss school frequently, especially those with chronic health conditions like diabetes and asthma, resulting in degraded academic performance.


In conclusion, the growing matter of childhood obesity is reduced if everybody focuses on the bleak effects of obesity. Several elements play into childhood obesity, some being additional crucial than others. A combined diet and physical activity intervention conducted within the community with a college part is more practical at preventing obesity or overweight. Furthermore, if elders implement a healthier routine in their households, many obesity cases will reduce. What kids learn at home regarding consumption of healthy food, physical exercise, and creating the correct nutritional choices can eventually spill over into different aspects of their life. This can have the largest influence on kids’ selections once choosing foods to consume in fast-food restaurants and select to be active. Specializing in these causes could, over time, decrease childhood obesity and cause a healthier society.


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Tags: #junkfood #childhoodobesity #bingeatingdisorder #obesity



1 comment

8 months ago by rtrrojalbothrarccme

This topic is usually not covered and people make fun instead of helping those children. So happy to see that someone is talking about this as well.



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