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An Overview of Childhood Obesity

Goal:


Obesity is an epidemic that has hit the youngest of generations, children, your children. Obesity is defined as “a condition in which somebody’s weight is more than 20% higher than is recommended for that person’s height” (Encarta Dictionary). Through the establishment of our website we want to aid parents in their efforts to prevent and to treat childhood obesity. A child is considered to be between ages 3-12 and adolescence is from ages 13-18 (Hendry). This means that proper eating habits need to be established earlier on in the household.

Body Mass Index (BMI):


Obesity is determined by using the BMI or body mass index. A person’s BMI relates that person’s weight in relation to their height. A BMI measurement can allow doctor’s to see if their patient has a high amount of body fat. It is estimated that any individual with a BMI of 25 kg/m2 or greater is considered obese and at risk for severe health problems.

Then versus Now:


Then -

Children walked to school. Family meals were eaten at the table. Portion sizes were smaller. Moms were often at home. Two parent families were more common. Air conditioning wasn't as wide spread, forcing kids to go outdoors to cool down.

Now -

Children ride the bus to school or are driven by their parents. Meals are mostly fast food and are more regularly eaten in cars than at the table. Portions are oversized. Air conditioning is more readily available. Higher amount of technology, i.e. video games, so children stay inside more. Both parents work. Single parent families are more common. (www.ket.org)

Overview:


Obesity has many triggers and the goal of this website is to help parents identify these triggers and provide a safe and healthy environment for children to be able to grow and learn. Some triggers for childhood obesity are a lack of exercise, bad eating habits, and a lack of parental awareness. Childhood obesity hasn’t always been a problem, according to Dr. Theresa Nicklas “ten year old children are generally five kilograms heavier in 1995 than in 1973” (Hendry). One of the main contributors to an increase in severely overweight children is an increase in the amount of carbohydrates and soft drinks consumed by kids; “12 percent of preschool-age children, 33 percent of school-age children, and more than 50 percent of adolescents average 9 ounces of soft drinks or more a day”(Foster). Other reasons are using food as a coping mechanism to relieve stress, and for a child that is already obese and has a low self-esteem they will continue to eat in order to forget their hurt.

Children who are obese can be subject to many health problems and in the majority of cases children who are obese will grow up to be obese adults. Some of the major health problems associated with childhood obesity is high blood pressure, asthma, type 2 diabetes, orthopedic complications, hypertension, and sleep apnea (Reece). If a child who is obese is not affected by any of these complications when they are young and they continue to stay at their current unhealthy weight they are subject to more severe and life-threatening diseases, such as heart disease which can lead to heart attacks and stroke.

The main goal of our website is to help parents establish a healthy and involved household on their own terms, incorporating some of the websites tips with the knowledge a parent has regarding how their household runs. Please feel free to browse the healthy recipe and game section as well as the prevention page for further information. Also, listed below are some helpful links for further research.

Your child is of concern to you, the parent, and as a community we are concerned as well and we offer you this website to guide and help you, the parent, in your effort to reverse childhood obesity.


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