Consequences of Childhood Obesity – Child Development Example

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"Consequences of Childhood Obesity" is a decent example of a paper on child development. Childhood obesity is a serious health condition with long-term and short-term affecting children and adolescents’ health and wellbeing. Overweight and obesity mainly occur because of genetic factors, unhealthy dietary practices, and lack of physical exercise. Overweight in this instance refers to a condition of having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, bone, and water. Adults having BMI values of 25 to 29.9 are overweight while those with higher BMI values are obese. According to the CDC, the percentage of obese children aged between 6 to 11 years in America escalated from 7 percent in 1980 to nearly 18 percent in 2012.

Some of the short-term effects include the risk of cardiovascular like high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The long-term effects associated with obesity are heart problems, certain types of cancer, and type 2 diabetes. According to the research by Tuckson (2013), childhood obesity has tripled in the previous 30 years from less than 4 percent to nearly 21 percent. The higher increase in the condition with associated deaths makes the disease a national concern and an epidemic in America hence justifying the research (Tuckson, 2013). Obesity The research by Elder et al.

(2013) reveals that, in 2008, more than 1.4 billion adults were overweight and 500 million were obese. Overweight and obesity rank as the fifth leading causes of mortality in the world. In the same year, approximately 170 million children globally were overweight or obese with a majority living in low to middle-class countries. Such countries promote unhealthy dietary practices with a reduction in physical exercising thereby encouraging the thriving of obesity.

Due to the associated mortality rates, quicker intervention is essential to tame and help save the situation. The research, however, fails to recommend the best alternatives and practices that will offer a solution to the epidemic (Elder, 2013). Research conducted by Krebs et al. (2007) focusing on comparing multiple body composition indexes for the evaluation of body weight amongst children less than 19 years of age. They considered children using BMI percentiles while the adults using BMI unaided. They quantified adult overweight with a BMI of between 25 and 29.9 and adult obesity as having a BMI greater than 30.

On the contrary, childhood overweight referred to BMI of greater than or equal to 85th percentile but lower than 90th percentile. Childhood obesity entails possessing a BMI of greater than or equal to the 95th percentile for children of compatible age and gender. Krebs et al. based on the children's weight measure on age, sex, and not BMI alone. Koplan and the Institute of Medicine (2007) assert that in 2004 American health care spending accounted for 16 percent of the GDP.

Increases in obesity prevalence from 1987 to 2001 accounted for a 12 percent increase in health care spending and budgetary allocation. The increased and a higher percentage for Medicaid reflects the higher prevalence of obesity among children from lower socioeconomic status (Koplan & Institute of Medicine, 2007). Environmental background and demography determine the risk factor of becoming obese. Unhealthy food practices in the regions of lower socioeconomic status are the causative aspect of obesity. Davies, Fitzgerald, and Mousouli (2008) note the increasing economic burden and weight-related health complications among American children.

The trio used Body Mass Index (BMI), skinfold thickness, and bioelectric impedance as parameters for estimating obesity. The researchers’ associate obesity with a Body Mass Index value greater than or equal to 30. However, the value is dynamic in children since the children grow. Childhood obesity is measured relative to a given percentile value. Overweight refers to a particular BMI value above the 95th percentile in reference to the CDC 2000 American chart (Davies, Fitzgerald, & Mousouli, 2008). Children with BMI values lying between 84th and 94th percentiles are at risk of overweight complications. Consequences of obesity According to the CDC, obesity in children and adults leads to risks of contracting cardiovascular diseases.

Cardiovascular ailments are of particular interest to the American government since the condition is irreversible hence claiming lots of lives through death. The statistics from the CDC asserts that cardiovascular disease claimed more lives in 2006 than cancer, accidents, or AIDS. Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are other causative factors to the illness. The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity throughout America prompted policymakers to rank childhood obesity as a critical health threat.

According to the Institute of Medicine (2005), the rate of childhood obesity has more than doubled since 1975 in children and adults (Institute of Medicine et al. , 2005). Moreno, Pigeot, and Ahrens (2011) reveal the significant exposure to negative biases and peer stereotypes that obese children and adults undergo. Stigmatization significantly affects overweight and obese children and adults during their developmental period of shaping self-identity. Body size stigmatization impedes children's and adults’ social, emotional, and academic achievement. Childhood obesity negatively influences children’ s academic performances.

Such children and adults are likely to miss school due to fear of teasing and weight-related insults from peers (Moreno, Pigeot, and Ahrens, 2011). According to Paxon (2010), Obesity associates with many metabolic disorders like insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome, and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Obesity leads to increased secretion of insulin by the pancreas and the increased flow levels of insulin. Through the research, it is evident that increased circulation of insulin leads to raised blood pressure and cholesterol intensity. From a different perspective, Paxon (2010) presents metabolic syndrome as leading to increased waist circumference, increased blood pressure, and raised blood glucose levels (Paxon, 2010).

Metabolic syndrome results in the formation of cardiovascular complications that leads to death. Prevention and Control Measures for Obesity According to the American Institute of Medicine (2005), Childhood obesity prevention involves maintaining energy balance at a healthy weight while caring for the overall health, growth and development, and dietary status. The balance exists between energy an individual consumes and the energy he or she expends to support growth and development, metabolism, and physical exercises.

Children should practice healthy dietary practices by avoiding foods rich in fats and cholesterol. The American Institute of Medicine (2010) has a gap in its failure to outline the best mechanisms for maintaining the energy balance. The children should engage in physical exercises to get rid of the excess fats from the body. Physical exercises also serve to facilitate the metabolism of the body that helps in reducing the risks of contracting obesity. Lobelo et al. (2013) recommend school-based interventions as the best mechanisms in preventing overweight and obesity.

The introduction of physical education in the school curriculum facilitated by teachers and health care professionals proved successful in preventing obesity. School-based solutions are inclusive, healthy dietary practices involving the taking of meals less in fats and cholesterols (Lobelo et al. , 2013). However, the challenge, that the research presents, is the longer period of follow-up and monitoring. Another challenge is the inclusion of the healthcare professionals in the frequent checkups that limit the recommendation of the practices for home-based solutions. Conclusion Childhood obesity is a serious condition accounting for a larger mortality rate and increased government expenditures.

The implications such as cancer and cardiovascular diseases that the disease causes are irreversible and ultimately lead to death making the condition an epidemic in America. Adults with Body Mass Index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 are overweight while those with higher BMI values are obese. However, BMI alone does not prove obesity traits in individuals; other features such as waist circumference and glucose level indicate obesity in individuals. Obesity leads to metabolic complications and disorders like insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. School-based solutions and interventions prove successful in preventing obesity amongst children and adults in America.

Physical exercises and healthy dietary practices help in preventing childhood obesity.


Davies, H. D., Fitzgerald, H. E., & Mousouli, V. (2008). Obesity in Childhood and Adolescence. Westport, Conn: Praeger

Institute of Medicine (U.S.)., Liverman, C. T., Koplan, J., Kraak, V. I., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2005). Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press

Koplan, J., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2007). Progress In Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up? Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.

Krebs, N. F., Himes, J. H., Jacobson, D., Nicklas, T. A., Guilday, P., & Styne, D. (2007). Assessment of Child and Adolescent Overweight and Obesity. Pediatrics, 120 (Supplement 4), S193-S228.

Lobelo, F., Garcia De Quevedo, I., Holub, C. K., Nagle, B. J., Arredondo, E. M., Barquera, S., & Elder, J. P. (2013). School-Based Programs Aimed at the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity: Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth in Latin America School-Based Programs Aimed at the Prevention and Treatment of Obesity: Evidence-Based Interventions for Youth in Latin America. Journal of School Health, 83(9), 668-677.

Moreno, A. L., Pigeot, I., & Ahrens, W. (2011). Epidemiology of Obesity in Children and Adolescents: Prevalence and Etiology. New York: Springer.

Paxon, C. (2010). Childhood Obesity. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Tuckson, R. V. (2013). America's Childhood Obesity Crisis and the Role of Schools. Journal of School Health, 83(3), 137-138. DOI:10.1111/josh.12019

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