Etiology of Pediatric Obesity

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Fast food, as an aspect of our cultural identity, alone, cannot be responsible for the epidemic of childhood obesity in the United States, as the behavior of children is largely reliant on the influences of their parents. Home and social environments, parenting styles, family-feeding practices are the primary influences on early childhood nutritional behaviors. Obesity is a serious and widespread health problem in only certain kinds of societies characterized by economic modernizations, food surplus, and social acceptance. GENETICS During adiposity, around 5 to 6 years of age, a child’s body fatness declines to a minimum before increasing into adulthood. A study conducted at Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound found evidence of normal weight children with at least one overweight parent at the time of adiposity rebound, is nearly 5 times as likely to be obese as an adult. However, if both parents are obese before the child reaches adiposity rebound, there is 13 times the risk of the child becoming an obese adult. Generally recognized as genetic predispositions, the causes of excess adiopsity may affect a variety of possible physiological processes, including basal metabolic rates. Individuals with “fat phenotypes” are likely to develop adult obesity but genetic inheritance does not cause obesity alone (Whitiker). PARENTING These obese parents are creating specific food environments for their children containing high fat, high-calorie, energy dense foods. High fat foods

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