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Childhood obesity refers to a medical condition that children and adolescents face when they are growing. In particular, it means that they have too much weight for their age and height. In fact, childhood obesity is established primarily via the computation of the Body Mass Index (BMI). The excess weight affects them negatively as it brings about health problems such as heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. Furthermore, obesity affects children emotionally and socially as it lowers self-esteem and makes them emotionally disturbed. The fact that the excessive body weight is becoming more and more spread and is accompanied with dangerous health problems has led to it being classified as a serious health condition. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to do research regarding childhood obesity and considering its causes, diagnosis, effects, treatment, prevention and management.
The Causes of Childhood Obesity
Most cases of childhood obesity are believed to be due to lifestyle issues that entail little or no exercising and too many calories from unhealthy foods and drinks (Hasnain, Singer, Bradlee, & Moore, 2014). However, there is so much more than just lifestyle that leads to the excessive weight (Hasnain et al., 2014). In general, the main risk factor that can result in child becoming obese is diet. Taking meals that have high number of calories regularly, for instance, fast foods, canap?s, and baked products can make the young ones overweight (Langwith, 2013). Sweets, sugary juices, and desserts are also responsible for the fact that children gain weight fast.
Inadequate amount or lack of exercise is another factor causing the medical condition under analysis. Obviously, children who do not exercise regularly begin to add weight (Hasnain et al., 2014). Kids who spend their free time watching television and playing video games are also apt to gaining excessive kilograms. It happens due to the fact that they do not burn any calories (Buckley, 2016).
In addition, family issues can lead to weight problems as well. To start from, children who come from a family with obesity history is also bound to suffer from the condition if care is not taken (Buckley, 2016). It can either be hereditary owing to the family genetics or be provoked by the environment where obese family members always consume high-calorie foods and do not encourage any physical exercise thus leading to weight gain (Buckley, 2016). Another risk factor is the psychological one whereby personal, parental and family hassles can cause a child's obesity as there are those kids who tend to overeat to handle stress or fight boredom (Hasnain et al., 2014). Moreover, this practice may come from parents or other family members.
Diagnosis of Childhood Obesity
There is a big dissimilarity amongst children who have additional pounds and kids who are obese. In other words, not all children who are fat are obese. The young ones are characterized by different weight at different developmental stages depending on their body frames (Buckley, 2016). There are numerous methods of defining whether a kid is obese or not. The first way is the performance of several blood tests requested by a doctor (Fernandes, 2010). They encompass cholesterol, blood sugar tests, and a few others to look for hormone inequities, vitamin B insufficiency and other obesity related conditions (Fernandes, 2010).
Another method is the BMI calculation that established by the quotient of the child's weight to height (Hasnain et al., 2014). The little ones are supposed to visit a doctor who will be calculating their BMI they grow. There is a special BMI-for-age growth chart that helps the specials to determine whether a kid is obese for his/her age and height or not. BMI that is between 85% and 94% means that a child is overweight while BMI that is 95% and above indicates that a child is obese (Fernandes, 2010). Apart from the BMI and the weight chart, a doctor also assesses the family history of obesity and any weight related health conditions, little patients eating habits and activity before concluding that he/she is obese (Fernandes, 2010).
Effects of Childhood Obesity
The obesity can affect the child physically, emotionally and socially. First, a child may suffer from various health issues due to obesity. For instance, some little ones are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes since obesity influences how sugar is utilized by their bodies (Hasnain et al., 2014). High cholesterol and high blood pressure are also caused by obesity as this condition can lead to the formation of deposits in the blood vessels that will toughen or narrow over time thus leading to a stroke or a heart attack later in life (Langwith, 2013). Additionally, children with excessive weight have high chances of being asthmatic due to too many calories in their bodies (Hasnain et al., 2014). Lastly, obesity causes sleeping disorders such as obstreperous sleep apnea that is a severe condition that might lead to death as a kids breathing recurrently halts and starts throughout sleep (Buckley, 2016).
To continue, one has to consider emotional and social impacts of obesity as well. Firstly, a child suffers from low self-esteem as he/she is constantly bullied or teased for being overweight by his/her peers (Fernandes, 2010). Such kids are most likely to demonstrate dejection. Secondly, obese children develop behavioral and learning complications as they tend to have apprehension and inferior social abilities as compared to standard weight kids (Fernandes, 2010). As a consequence, they may avoid the contact with other members of the society. Lastly, low-esteem caused by obesity also leads to depression as the young ones with the medical condition under analysis tend to show desperate feelings (Buckley, 2016).
Treatment of Childhood Obesity
Treatment for childhood obesity is mostly influenced by the age of the kid. Children aged between 6 and 11 can be cured via amending their eating behaviors (Fernandes, 2010). Older children and teenagers can lose their weight as a result of changing their eating practices as well as engaging in physical activities (Fernandes, 2010). Furthermore, they can also fight the excessive kilograms with the help of medication following a weight-loss plan although it is not a safe method of weight loss as there are adverse effects involved (Fernandes, 2010).
Regardless of the children's age, the keyway of treating obesity is through healthy eating. Parents should make it their responsibility to help their offspring lose weight and encourage the formation of healthy eating habits. Firstly, when doing food shopping, grown-ups should select fruits and vegetables and avoid buying cookies, cakes, fast food that have a high number of calories and too much sugar (Buckley, 2016). Secondly, they should limit sugary beverages as they offer minimal nutritional value in exchange for their high quantity of calories (Buckley, 2016). Lastly, parents should serve the right portions of meals for their kids to hinder them from overeating that may be dangerous to their weight (Buckley, 2016).
For older children, physical activity can also help to treat obesity, and therefore, they should be encouraged to exercise more (Buckley, 2016). To improve the kid's activity level, parents should limit television and computer time and encourage them to engage in some exercise (Fernandes, 2010). Moreover, adults should accentuate on activity and not work out since any active practice is good for the body (Fernandes, 2010). Finally, grown-ups have to look for the activities that interest their children so that they can encourage them to do that regularly and, thus, exercise more (Fernandes, 2010).
Management and Prevention of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity can be managed and prevented in different ways. First of all, parents should be role models to their children in consuming healthy foods to avoid becoming obese (Langwith, 2013). Furthermore, the whole family has to be involved in performing physical activities to control weight. Besides, parents should discourage their offspring from dieting and skipping meals but rather motivate them to eat healthily and be physically active (Langwith, 2013). One has to limit child's intake of sugary drinks, provide him/her with plenty of fruits and vegetables, serve the right portions of meals and always eat together as a family (Langwith, 2013). Moreover, adults should talk about their children's feelings to discover ways of supporting them emotionally. Lastly, grown-ups should always praise their kid's efforts to lose weight to encourage them to lose more (Langwith, 2013).
To sum up, childhood obesity is a condition that affects the young ones who put on too much weight that is not proportional to their age and height. It is a precarious disorder that leads to dangerous health issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, etc. Apart from health disorders, childhood obesity can result in low self-esteem and dejection. As a rule, the excessive weight is caused by unhealthy eating, lack of physical activities, family factors, etc. The condition under analysis can be diagnosed by calculating BMI and conducting various blood tests. At the same time, one has to remember that childhood obesity can be prevented by engaging the little ones in physical activities, consuming the right quantities of meals, taking healthy foods, and eating fruits and vegetables. Obesity in children should be managed timely enough to avert them from growing into obese adults.
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