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Obesity in Children.

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Obesity in Children A worldwide epidemic of childhood obesity is occurring. The rate of childhood obesity has doubled in the last 10 years. These obese children will most likely become obese adults and carry all the extra risks for diseases such as heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Despite the fact that most parents understand what healthy eating habits should be, we must not be following those guidelines too closely Depending on how obesity is defined in children, at least 11 percent of children in the United States and as many as 25 percent of adolescents are overweight. The prevalence of obesity in children and adults in the United States has increased by more than 30 percent over the past decade. Recent statistics from the National Institute of Health in 1998 show that 54 percent, that is 97 million, adult Americans over the age of 20 are obese. ...read more.


Now with an overwhelming number of items available, it seems easy to snack on crackers or chips or cookies, instead of fresh foods. Our society appears to be going through a palate change that desires more processed food choices. * Despite all the knowledge of the health benefits of regular exercise, our children are not necessarily receiving those benefits. Only about 36 percent of children participate in physical activity in school on a daily basis. Of students in grades nine through twelve, only half reported being enrolled in physical education classes. * Television viewing, video games, and computers have become sedentary options for our children. Some researchers have found a strong correlation between the time spent watching television and being overweight. The 1990 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that more than 70 percent of students in grades nine through twelve watched at least one hour of television and 35 percent watched three or more hours of television each school day. ...read more.


The rate of new asthmatics was more than double in children in the highest 20 percent of body mass index. * Obese children have a high risk of becoming obese adults with the increased risk of developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes, high blood pressure), increased cholesterol and triglycerides, and certain types of cancer. * Being overweight accelerates the aging process and reduces longevity. A study from Harvard researchers in 1995 showed that among a group of female nurses, modestly overweight women were 60 percent more likely to die than the thinnest women. * There is a rising incidence of adolescents being diagnosed with adult-type diseases, like hypertension and adult-onset diabetes. * Obese children face significant negative psychosocial consequences, like discrimination from their peers and low self-esteem. The economic health care related costs of obesity have been estimated to be around $69 billion in 1990. This represents about eight percent of total health care costs. ...read more.

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