Essay on Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

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Introduction

A very good indicator for the health of the nation is the national epidemic of childhood and adolescent obesity, currently a target objective for Healthy people 2010 (DHHS). The Surgeon General reports there are 12.5 million children between toddlers and school age who are obese, a prevalence of 17%, while children at risk for obesity have a prevalence of 16% (General). A third of the child population are obese or at risk for obesity. This condition crosses all age groups, ethnicities, socioeconomic backgrounds and is determined by the measurement of high Body Mass Index (BMI), based on weights and heights in children. Obesity is a leading contributing factor known to have an effect on the morbidity and mortality rates.
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RYGB and AGB are the two options currently performed on obese adolescents; however, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the usage for AGB for adolescents under 18 years of age.
The National Institute of Diabetes and digestive and Kidney Disease reports between the period of 1996 through 2003, an estimated 2,700 adolescents had bariatric surgery(cite). Although criteria for bariatric surgery are very conservative, the number of surgeries continues to increase, as more children and adolescents are diagnosed as extremely obese.
Obesity defined for children and adolescents is having a BMI greater than the 85th percentile of measured weights and heights according to age; this measure does not determine where fat deposits exist on a child’s body. The causes of obesity are complex they include a genetic predisposing for the condition with contributing factors; factors of behavior, environment, culture, ethnicity, psychological and socioeconomic status. Obesity defined in the simplest form is the imbalance of energy (food) taken in and energy expended (physical activity) which leads to excessive weight gain. The epidemic of child and adolescent obesity is a fairly recent phenomena. During the 1960’s we begin to see a three trends among Americans; more women were entering

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