The Effects Of Obesity On The Body Height Of Children And Adolescents Essay

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Over the past few decades the United States has seen a dramatic rise in the average weight of children and adolescents leading to an obesity epidemic. According to Up-to-Date, body mass index (BMI) is defined as the standard measure of obesity in individuals. It is the body height in kilograms divided by the body height in meters squared (Skeleton, 2016). Child obesity is based on a standardized growth scale and is defined as a body mass index (BMI) that surpasses the 95th percentile of a fixed distribution for a child’s age and gender. For elementary school age students, the cutoff is around a BMI of 20 (Schanzenbach, 2005). An increased obesity is due to a disproportion of increased caloric intake with inadequate energy expenditure throughout the day. In a recent comparison of 34 countries, Janssen et. al showed that “the two countries with the highest prevalence of overweight and obese youth were Malta (25.4% and 7.9%) and the United States (25.1% and 6.8%) while the two countries with the lowest prevalence were Lithuania (5.1% and 0.4%) and Latvia (5.9% and 0.5%)” (2005). One of the numerous reasons why worldwide trends in obesity data are evolving this way is based on the relative socioeconomic status of the country. A country with a stable economy will see a shift in the data showing more constant food supply being generated and therefore a rise in overall dietary intake. This is one reason why countries such as the United States and China are showing higher
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