Childhood Obesity : An Epidemic That Is Sweeping Through America

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY INTRODUCTION Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is sweeping through America. The key to understanding the threshold for the term obesity is to know the clinical definition. Obesity and overweight are two terms that are intermittently misused. Overweight is clinically defined as the excess body fat one has in terms to their height, muscle, bone, or in a combination of all factors (Childhood Obesity Facts). Obesity is simply the concept of having excess body fat (Childhood Obesity Facts). Adult obesity is the cause of multiple disease that are difficult to treat and most are fatal. Childhood obesity should be seen just as fatal, if not more, than adult obesity due to the higher risk children have to contracting…show more content…
The following is the BMI percentiles for young children: • underweight: BMI below the 5th percentile • normal weight: BMI at the 5th and less than the 85th percentile • overweight: BMI at the 85th and below 95th percentiles • obese: BMI at or above 95th percentile (http://kidshealth.org/parent/general/body/overweight_obesity.html) • Under this criteria,33% of children account for the 85th percentile and above. 1 out of every 3 children is considered overweight. Figure 1: Obesity rankings in adolescents aged 2-19 in the 95th percentile of BMI. The figure featured above demonstrates the rapid incline in obesity in our youth over the past 40 years. This graph features the 95th percentile of obesity in adolescents 2 to 19 years old (Rajalakshmi Lakshman-american red cross article) Risk Factors for Obesity The causation of obesity is multifactorial. Genetic and environment factors play a crucial role in the involvement of childhood obesity and a superior role when combined. Genetic Factors After years of examination, medical researchers have found a positive correlation between genetics and obesity. According to an article by Cara Ebbeling, Dorota Pawlak, and Dr. David Ludwig, the following are genetic factors and syndromes that contribute to obesity: • genetic factors that effect the leptin signaling pathway • Prader-willis syndrome associated with hyperghrelinaemia • Bardet-Biedi • Cohen • Alstrom syndormes These genetic factors and syndromes are
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