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Childhood Obesity – A Global Epidemic

Date: February 15, 2017

There is a global obesity epidemic raging throughout the world and it’s not restricted to just the developed nations; developing nations are equally affected by this condition of excessive weight accumulation. In 2013, the American Medical Association even undertook a somewhat controversial decision to classify obesity as a disease in an attempt to get it more attention and importance.

Sadly, it’s not just the adults who are affected by this epidemic, children and teenagers too are its victims and a recent report claims that globally, there are over 41 million children under the age of 5 years, who are obese with a high BMI of over 27. While the epidemic shows no signs of abating, it’s hitting the developing nations hard.
Childhood obesity is a medical condition that causes the body to store excessive body fat, due to impulsive and uncontrolled eating, often of high-calorie foods; such people eat the moment they feel hunger pangs and eat because food is there and not because their body feels the need to eat. In rare cases only does the obesity have to do with hereditary genes.

Obesity has a profound effect on the child’s quality of life ranging from physical, educational, social, psychological, and of course most importantly, the arising health consequences. They have to put up with social discrimination from other kids who aren’t obese, and end up living a life of low self-esteem. Such kids are also more prone to developing depression, asthma, heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.

The consequences of these factors end up afflicting the adult stage too if uncontrolled obesity spills over into adulthood, thereby creating economic problems for the family.

Although obesity ranks as one of the biggest issues in childhood, the good thing about childhood obesity is that it’s preventable, and once it has happened, it’s also controllable – of course, with the full dedicated help from the child’s parents. As the after-effects of obesity will become a big burden to the children as they grow up, it’s the duty of the parents to nurture their children in the right way and not give in to commercials advertising junk foods as being the right choice for the easily impressionable minds of your children.

Of course there is the other factor too that with the current trend of both parents working, there is very little time left over to create nourishing wholesome home-made meals, and fast-foods seem the ideal way out of the dilemma. The government also needs to take urgent steps and chip in their share of efforts to control this epidemic as childhood obesity will create a huge economic burden to the society, if left to grow any further.

Treatment for this condition is aimed towards changing the lifestyle of the family as a whole, and not just the child. Sustainable lifestyle changes should include increased physical activity, less time in sedentary activities like TV or computer viewing; and most important factor would be dietary changes with more fresh fruits and veggies, and less of high calorie foods.

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