Child Obesity and Early Development of Chronic Diseases
This is a work of research on childhood obesity and its ensuing implications on a child’s health as well as the occurrence of chronic diseases in early stages of life. Most babies are referred to as healthy by the simple appearance of their chubby cheeks. Body fat is particularly beneficial in aiding the normal functioning of the body. This includes boosting the immune system of the body as well as helping in the absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like vitamin K, which aid in the clotting of blood vitamin D, E, and A all which boost prevention of disease in the body. However, body fat if allowed to be in excess may have devastating implications for the individual. (Segrave, 2010)
Childhood obesity results from excess body fat in a child, which in turn leads to negative health implications for the individual. Child obesity is determined by the measure of children’s body, mass index that determines whether they are normal or overweight. Child obesity has in the current years been recognized by the public health sector as a rising concern that should be dealt with in the early stages to prevent future complications (Segrave, 2010).
Research conducted by pediatrics indicates that; children who had been overweight at a certain time in their lives are highly likely to have a return of these elements of obesity in their early adulthood. It is vital that parents take precaution instead of hoping that a lifestyle change would eliminate all likelihood of obesity in the child, in the future. If identified in the early stages, precautionary measures could be taken to prevent its recurrence as well as the ensuing chronic diseases caused by excess body fat (Segrave, 2010).
Obesity especially in children has significantly increased by a hundred percent in one decade. This could be highly attributed to the increase of calorie intake in the food that has become so widespread in the food market, and the rise in genetically manufactured food products. The intake of these products has led to an imbalance of calories due to too few calories being ejected from the body as opposed to those ingested (Wanjek, 2011).
Obesity in children increases the occurrence of cardiovascular disease in children. This excess fat leads to accumulation in the coronary artery leading to a slowing pumping of blood to the heart. It may also lead to high blood pressure due to the existence of high amounts of cholesterol in the body. Obesity in children also paves the way for occurrence of diabetes too early in a child’s life. This is because of the high amount of glucose level that is present in the blood stream. Obesity in childhood also results in poor bone development. This leads to bone and joint problems and could even result in sleeping problems (Wanjek, 2010).
If obesity is not checked in the early stages and is left to continue into adulthood, it leads to more complicated diseases. This includes stroke, certain types of cancers and even osteoarthritis. Cancer cases have been on the rise as a lifestyle disease with the continually worsening human lifestyles and disregard for health. The cancers associated with childhood obesity include coronary cancer, endometrial, esophagus and even that of the kidney (Wanjek 2010).
Surprisingly, the rise of weight loss methods, which have increased a tenfold have not led to the reduction of obesity occurrence especially in the United States. Exercise and weight loss programs need to change their focus to be aimed at reducing the occurrence of obesity and prevention of chronic diseases. Research conducted indicates that there has been an overall increase in obesity in all states, in all sexes across the country. The trends could provide clues as to how to go about preventing the spread of obesity among the country’s population. Previous research done has resulted in underestimation of the spread of obesity in the population due to the overestimation of height and underestimation of weight by individuals. However, what is emerging is the fact obesity is more widespread than previous research has led to believe (Oliver, 2009).
Research that included health professionals taking actual height and weight indices indicated a twenty-five percent increase in the cases of obesity, as opposed to previous reports on the widespread extent of obesity. This research also indicated that all sectors of the population had recorded an increase in cases of obesity. This meant that there was a general increase in the uptake in increased fat foods or unhealthy dietary to lead to such massive gain in weight across the population. Unlike popular believe that this might be a result of individuals lacking motivation to maintain a healthy weight or even genetic construction, it seemed to be more on the consumption habits of the population (Oliver, 2009).
The biggest challenge that plagues the public health sector as involving the issue of obesity is lack of knowledge. The public is not aware of how widespread and what menace obesity has become in the society. The public health sector has a challenge to provide public education on obesity and its implications on health. As much physical health has increased, it is not being geared towards achieving a balance between the intake of energy and the physical activity, which should be the case. The programs involve a facilitator who facilitates the progress of the youth. This is a fundamental aspect of the programs, as the facilitators become role models for the youths in the program. Their presence also ensures that there is a progressive development in the youths (Crister, 2005).
As a way to get the optimum results from this program, they involve the youths in community services as a way of treating. This ensures that the youths are aware that the community is being affected, and they are willing participants in their process of their recovery. All the programs also combine intensive supervision and medical attention. This ensures that the youths engage on a strict program to rehabilitate their behavior (Crister, 2005).
To resolve the issue of obesity, various individuals must be devotedly associated with this program. These include public health workers, physicians and even legislators. Such a step will ensure that they strict measures are set up and followed to curb the scourge that has become obesity and its related diseases (Critser, 2005).
The necessity of stopping obesity is also associated with the cost incurred to treat it in the late stages. Medical costs in the US are estimated at an accelerating amount of one hundred and forty seven billion shillings per year. On an individual scale, normal weight people incurred medical bills of one thousand four hundred and fifty seven dollars less than those that were recorded to have elements of obesity. Obesity has a general implication on the economy. Long abstentions from work and low productivity at work leave a dent on the general economy of the country, due to the resultant chronic diseases associated with obesity, The youth especially should be in the forefront to change their consumption habit ensuring that they guarantee a healthier future. Correction of such behavior has to be done, hence the essentiality of putting up youth correction centers (Anne E. Dixon, 2012).
The increase of obesity across the whole population could be attributed mainly to the increase in community lifestyles that discourage physical exercise and while at the same time promo correction of such behavior has to be done, hence the essentiality of putting up youth correction centers consume. Health care facilities that help reach a large of the population should be used to promote change in lifestyle. The population should be made aware that it is not necessary that the change in lifestyle come with a larger budget. It should be economical and easier to adapt to while at the same time encouraging more people to join in and make a difference in their lifestyle, while at the same time saving up on large amounts of money that is used up in hospital bills due to the occurrence of obesity (Anne. E. Dixon, 2012).
The change in lifestyle includes a reduction of sugar consumed by individuals as well as an increase in the uptake of fruits increase participation in physical exercise and a decrease in the preference of fast foods and snacks, which are often, packed high with calories. Obesity whose rate has increased in pregnant women also provides a great risk during pregnancy and even high during delivery (Lustig, 2012).
Massive gain of weight and accumulation of weight in the early stages of life leads to accumulation of plaque in the vessels. It also leads to the presence of clots in the blood, which slows down the flow of blood in the body system. Recent studies have also shown that blood pressure has more to do with the weight rather than age. The amount of fat in the body leads to an increase in blood sugar hence leading to an increase in the blood pressure of a person. These combined with the clots in the blood vessels could lead to a very high risk in the health of an individual (Lustig 2012).
Obesity is closely related with the amount of cholesterol in an individual’s body. This does not mean that all cholesterol is bad, far from it. The body to repair worn out tissues especially the membrane of the cell utilizes cholesterol. It also plays an important role in the sending of impulses throughout the body by means of nerves. However, high amounts of cholesterol lead to disease in the body. Cholesterol is a combination of fatty compounds, which occur in either low density or high density. The low-density type of cholesterol is known as the bad mode of cholesterol. This is because it accumulates in arteries leading to thickening of the inner walls hence leaving little space for the passage of blood. It also leads to the formation of plaque in the inner walls. This plaque later breaks off from the walls leading to the formation of clots like substances in the blood passing through the arteries. In the event that there has been too much accumulation of cholesterol in the artery and the breakaway clot is big enough, it ends up completely blocking the passage of blood in the artery and the individual experiences a heart attack (Bailey, 2008).
Bad cholesterol is found in high amounts, in people suffering from obesity while the good cholesterol is found in very little amounts. This also leads to the blood increasing in its ability to thicken and make it more difficult to flow to the muscles in the heart and those in the brain. Obesity also leads to occurrence of liver problems. This is because the liver is directly associated with breaking down of fat in the body. Excess body fat leads to occurrence of problems in the liver and illnesses to the individual. Obesity has also been found to cause troubled sleep. This disease is known as sleep apnea. It leads to difficulty in breathing in the individual during sleeping as breathing is continually interrupted (Burniat, 2002).
A very large number of people with obesity are known to have metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by high amounts of fats and lipids, an abnormally high pressure in the blood and a notable resistance of insulin. The biggest challenge that childhood obesity and overweight characteristics have been associated with by researchers, is the fact that obesity in children most often reoccurs itself in adulthood with severe implications. Research has shown that infants who recorded abnormal body, mass index were likely to be obese at the age of twelve years (Burniat, 2002).
The problem is the fact that many childhood obesity cases lead to obesity for life. The individuals with childhood obesity are often evidence of a poor lifestyle with little physical exercises and poor eating habits with unhealthy high fat and cholesterol foods. There are several ways to treat obesity. However, the best solution would be prevention as it is less costly in terms of medical bills and a more sure way of avoiding medical complications (Burniat, 2002).
Among other effects on a child, struggling with obesity is the stigma that comes with it from the society. Obese children are often a target for discrimination and even social prejudice. They are often a target for bullying by other children especially in the school settings. Psychological stress that comes with the social stigmatization leads low self-esteem and self worth. This has the effect of curbing normal socialization among these children and even a drop in academic performance. These symptoms could persist even in adulthood if they are not checked in the early stages (Sorola, 2008).
Asthma has also been closely related with obesity in children. As much as cases of asthma do not intensify with an increase in the body mass index, it was more prevalent in children with obesity cases. This disease has led to mass morbidity among children. It is also a leading cause of absenteeism of children from schools. This has seen children lagging behind in their schoolwork. Coupled with the stigmatization of the society, this does not provide a habitable environment for healthy growth for these individuals (Sorola, 2008).
Obesity is not caused by any conditions other than those by lifestyle. A child will often take in more fat than the body needs. The fat accumulates leaving many fat cells in the body, which it has no capability to utilize. Children especially in the infant age have the ability to follow their body signals in relation to hunger and uptake of food. An infant is capable of determining when it is hungry and stop the uptake of food when they register enough intake of food. Growing up of these infants changes this behavior. This is especially when the parent is constantly forcing the child to finish the given amount of food. The body unlearns to send out signals leading to overfeeding. This eating past the body’s full capacity has a risk of becoming a habit over time, which may become difficult to reverse during adulthood (Campos, 2007).
Other behaviors that notably lead to obesity is the use of food often which is either fatty or sugary as an award for good behavior. This presents food as a good thing to enjoy. Most people are also known to use food as a way to relieve stress. With such kind of eating habits, then the individual may not be willing to listen to body signals that alert them when the body has had enough. Certain medication has also been known to cause an increase in a Childs appetite. This includes steroids that are administered in hospitals in little amounts and some seizure reducing medications. An increase in appetite could lead to an occurrence of obesity. However, the very common factor that is causing obesity is the lifestyle that many have chosen to live deeming it cheap and easy. The consumption of fast foods, soft drinks and complete disregard for the importance of exercise is what has lead to the alarming increase of obesity in the country. More people are becoming obese and the obese continue to become more obese. Public knowledge is of utter importance. This makes the citizens aware of the health risk their lifestyles are for them and their children especially in the future (Lustig, 2012).
Jessica M. Sorola in her book, Evaluation of Obesity Interventions Targeting Adults in the Occupational Setting, 2008 talks about obesity, its causes and the chronic diseases it brings along. She focuses on the intervention measures that could curb the condition including public awareness for the masses. Robert H. Lustig in his book, Fat Chance: Beating the odds against Sugar Processed Food, 2012 gives a vivid description of how the food industry has become one of the leading causes of obesity for the American citizens with so many unhealthy foods raiding the market. Anne, E. Dixon in her book, Obesity and Lung Disease: A Guide to Management, Burlington: Humana Press. Talks about chronic disease associated with obesity especially those involving the lungs that are lung cancer asthma among others.
Obesity among children has highly been ignored; hence, has become a lifestyle disease that is distressing and even killing the citizens, while at the same time using up a lot of financial resources to deal with the disease that obesity brings. It is time that people seriously think of their lifestyle and its consequences on their health.
Bailey, E. J. (2008). Food Choice and Obesity in Black America: Creating a New Cultural Diet. New York: Congress Lib. Press.
Anne E. Dixon, . C. (2012). Obesity and Lung Disease: A Guide to Management. Burlington: Humana Press.
Burniat, W. (2002). Child and Adolescent Obesity: Causes and Consequences, Prevention. Carlifornia: City End Press.
Campos, P. F. (2007). The Obesity Myth: Why America’s Obsession with Weight is Hazardous. New York: Penguin Group.
Critser, G. (2005). Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World. New York: Congress Publication.
Lustig, R. H. (2012). Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food. New York: Campbridge University Press.
Oliver, J. E. (2009). Fat Politics : The Real Story behind America’s Obesity Epidemic. Chicago: Oxford University Press.
Segrave, K. (2010). Obesity in America, 1850-1939:A History of Social Attitudes and Treatment. New York: McFarland & Company Incorporated Pub.
Sorola, J. M. (2008). Evaluation Of Obesity Interventions Targeting Adults in the Occupational Setting. Chicago: Durby Press.
Wanjek, C. (2011). Food at Work: Workplace Solutions for Malnutrition, Obesity and Chronic Diseases. New York: International Labour Publisher.