Child Obesity

Child obesity bears a wide array of both scholarly and mainstream definitions. The definition that best exemplifies this phenomenon, however, is that which is provided by the world health organization (WHO). The latter stipulates that childhood obesity is the excessive, hence abnormal accumulation of fat in a child’s body, which predisposes him or her to negative health outcomes. Body mass index (BMI) is the standard measure used to establish whether a kid is overweight. BMI is usually calculated as a child’s weight in kilograms or pounds, divided by height in feet or meters. The resultant value is weighed against the child’s age and gender, in order to effectively determine whether he or she has a healthy weight. In kids between the ages of 5 and 19 a BMI value that is higher than 85% is classified as overweight, one that is higher than 97% is deemed obese, while a value more than 99.9% is considered to be an indicator of severe obesity. The rampant nature of child obesity makes it cause for significant concern around the world. For instance, in 2013 the WHO found out that at least 40 million kids around the globe were obese. This paper explores child obesity in terms of causative factors and possible intervention measures, within the premise of the fact that irrespective of the phenomenon’s prevalence, it is entirely manageable and preventable.

Child obesity is of vital concern within both medical and social realms, given its detrimental impact on the affected persons’ health and social welfare. The author is, however, keen to note that identification of obesity causes is the first step towards successful management and prevention. Some of the causes of child obesity highlighted include adoption of a sedentary lifestyle characterized by physical inactivity, coupled with the intake of food rich in calories. The effect of these elements in causing obesity is accentuated by prenatal factors, genetic aspects, and popular socio-cultural tendencies. It is imperative to note that, obese children are more susceptible to comorbidities like insulin resistance, sleep disorders, hypertension, and overall poor quality of life, than their normal weight counterparts. It is also highly probable that child obesity and affiliated disorders can continue into adulthood.

In recognition of the harmful nature of child obesity and its widespread societal pervasion, various scholars recommend several intervention measures. For instance, multidisciplinary programs combining physical therapy, proper nutrition regimen, and psychological interventions like counseling, can play a significant role in weight management among children. There shall be parental involvement in managing kids’ weight through limiting intake of sugary beverages and snacks, reducing stationary activities like watching TV and playing computer games, as well as, increasing consumption of vegetables and fruits. Through these physical and dietary measures, these researchers have found child obesity to be easily manageable and preventable.

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