Childhood Obesity And Its Effects

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Childhood obesity is on the rise and has seen a dramatic increase over recent years. The percent of children facing obesity today is 18% and has doubled over the course of 30 years.1 With 2/3 of the adult population being overweight and obese it is no surprise that children are following the trend. Obesity simply defined is excess body fat from an energy imbalance. Obesity occurs when energy intake is more than energy expended and results in excess body fat. Childhood obesity can be measured with the CDC BMI-for-age and sex growth chart. A BMI equal to or greater than the 95th percentile is considered obese. Childhood obesity is a significant problem because it leads to immediate health consequences such as high blood pressure, high…show more content…
The cause for an energy imbalance in childhood obesity is typically due to a child consuming too many calories from nutrient-poor foods and not expending enough energy through physical activity. It appears that the simple equation to reverse obesity would be to reduce caloric intake and expend more energy, but obesity proves to be a much larger issue.
When looking at the nutrition of children it is easy to see room for improvement and dietary recommendations by the AHA are not being met. Children are not meeting the daily recommendations for fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and dairy. Fruit consumption is increasing, but vegetable consumption is not and the most common vegetable eaten is white potatoes in the form of fries and chips.2 Children are replacing healthy foods with fat, sugar, and sodium. The consumption of nutrient-poor foods is providing children with little to no nutritional value, but a heavy calorie burden.
Our society is set up perfectly against our health. Unhealthy food options are more accessible than healthy options. Children are faced with endless fast food options and vending machines full of sugar-sweetened beverages and packaged foods. Portion sizes have increased substantially over the past 30 years. Over the course of 20 years the serving size of fries has gone from 2.4 ounces to 6.9 ounces.3 Families are eating out more frequently and restaurant meals are higher in calorie and fat than home cooked meals. Children are often times
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