Childhood Obesity As A Public Health Problem

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1. Child Obesity as a Public Health Problem Childhood obesity is a serious public health problem that is increasingly affecting children and adolescents in the United States. Obesity occurs when an individual is clearly over the normal weight for his or her age and height. It is the result of children eating more calories then they are burning through physical activity. Genetic factors are also a common cause of obesity. A tool to measure whether one is obese or underweight is the body mass index, or BMI, which is a weight-to-height ratio. For children and adolescents, the BMI-for-age and sex percentile is used to measure obesity because it differs for boys and girls as they age. As defined by the CDC, children and adolescents age 2 to…show more content…
Medical health risks from childhood obesity include cardiovascular disease (CVD), diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea, liver disease, joint problems and much more. In a study measuring harmful effects of childhood obesity, 70% of obese children had at least one CVD risk factor, while 39% had at least two or more (Freedman et al.). Psychosocially, the child may undergo depression, low-self esteem, body dissatisfaction, and so on if they are overweight compared to the rest of their peers; this may continue into adulthood. Obese children are more likely to carry on their weight as they get older if they do not modify their lifestyle behaviors and eating habits, which will result in them becoming obese as adults as well. The medical condition of childhood obesity has a great impact on adult health, independent of the adult’s weight. 3. Economic Costs of Childhood Obesity The impact of childhood obesity has more to do with then just their health. Economic and societal costs of childhood obesity is estimated to be about $19,000 more per obese child compared to a normal weight child, and $14 billion as a whole in the United States. This economic cost takes into consideration direct medical costs, such as doctors’ visits and medications, but not indirect costs, such as a child’s absenteeism in school (Finkelstein et al.). This data shows that
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