Childhood Obesity: What is the real cause?

Childhood obesity has become and epidemic effecting 1 out of 5 children in the world. 

  • Childhood obesity is recognized by percentiles rather than BMI’s which adults are use to.
  •  A Child is considered to be overweight when they have a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile. ‘
  • A child is considered to be obese when their BMI is greater than the 95th percentile.
  • This number is found by taking the child’s height and weight.
  • Childhood obesity is highest amongst children of minority and lower socioeconomic status.
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Causes of childhood obesity

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Behavioral patterns (Dietary habits, physical activity, inactivity and medication use)
  • Environmental factors
  • Food marketing and promotion
  • Availability of foods at school and home
  • Lack of opportunities for activity
  • Education level of both children and parents
by NCDFREE

Childhood Obesity In the Media

Within this video clip Pediatrician Corinn Cross, MD talks about the factors leading to childhood obesity which include:

  • Increased caloric intake
  • Decreased physical activity
  • Greater than 2 hours/day of screen time
  • Increased utilization of fast food restaurants/ dining out
  • Accessibility of unhealthy snacks/healthy snacks.
  • Increased consumption of sugary beverages

This news clip main points include:

  • BMI charts are used to measure childhood weight status. A weight in the 85 percentiles means overweight and a weight in the 95 percentile would classify a child as obese.
  • Obesity can start as early as birth
  • When a child is able to eat solids they should be introduced to a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein.
  • Delay giving children sugary drinks and snacks as long as possible.
  • Children eat less than adults, do not be concerned if they do not eat as much as adults do.
  • Limit screen time and encourage physical exercise.

This PBS clip focuses around a child who is overweight. When sent to a clinic at Boston Children’s Hospital he is taught some main points about childhood obesity:

  • Foods labeled as good for you are not always whats best…Always read the labels.
  • Childhood obesity has doubled within the last thirty years
  • The incidence of type II diabetes mellitus is increasing in children.

What we know about childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is a serious epidemic that has implications on children’s health, body image, and self-esteem. Childhood obesity is condition that can be changed at any point in a child’s life given the right resources. Throughout the following three articles information has been founded in support of the claims and facts presented in the previous videos that can bring to understand to the topic and seriousness of childhood obesity.

Durbin, J. (2018). Pediatric Obesity in Primary Practice: A Review of the Literature. Pediatric Nursing, 44(4), 202–206. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=131366571&site=ehost-live

This article written by the Pediatric nursing journal bring forth validation to the information presented in the previous video. This article talks about how the incidence of childhood obesity have tripled throughout the last four decades. There is also an increase in the number of diseases that would normally present in older adults now being seen in children. These diseases would include type II diabetes mellitus, hypertension, and kidney disease. With increase in body weight children are putting increased strain to their bodied and organ causes things that normally develop after many decades on life. Durbin (2018) states that if there is no change in the habits of children now and prevention is not put into place then the number of obese infants and young children will likely increase to 70 million by the year 2025 worldwide. These children are not only subject to these type of medical condition but are also at higher risk for social isolation, depression, and lower self- esteem. This is a result of being subject to a higher rate of bullying and teasing by other children as compared to children of a normal weight. The best way to avoid permeate health complications for this condition is to try and correct the childhood obesity at the earliest stage possible. The recommendations for Toddlers 2 to 4 years of age with BMI less than 85th to 95th percentile should eat 1 to 1.5 cups of fruits/vegetables per day, and have less than 2 hours of screen time per day. For those who have a BMI in the 95th percentile and higher are encouraged to limit their carbohydrates and should be limited to 1 hour or less of screen time daily. For children from the ages of 5 throughout the adolescent years regardless of weight percentile they are recommended to avoiding sugar-sweetened beverages and engaging in 60 minutes of age appropriate exercise daily. Some type of beneficial exercise for these children include catching, throwing, running, walking, dancing, swimming, bicycling, and playing sports. Putting into action these recommendations for the proper age group childhood obesity can be stopped and reversed in order to limit the health consequence of children.

Balkenbush, K. (2018). Childhood Obesity Prevention and Treatment. Today’s Dietitian, 20(8), 52–58. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspxdirect=true&db=ccm&AN=131717985&site=ehost-live

In this article by Balkenbush (2018) the topics of prevention and treatment of childhood obesity are touched upon. It is stated that the incidence of childhood obesity has been increasing since the year 1980. It has doubled in children aged 2 to 5 and tripled among ages 6 to  to 19. Those who are more greatly effected by childhood obesity are those among minority and lower socioeconomic status. The reason for this is pointed at fewer amount of resources as well as unhealthy foods been cheaper and more easily accessible. It is discussed that children who are obese are more likely to remain obese as they go into adulthood where their degree of obesity and risk factors for diseases are more pronounced. Obese children are at greater risk for developing type II diabetes mellitus in their younger years but especially as they grow into adulthood. They are also more likely to develop things such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, sleep apnea and asthma. There are also mental health diseases more likely seen in these children such as depression, anxiety and eating disorders. Balkenbush (2018) talks about different ways to management and treat childhood obesity which include having a healthy balanced diet where they are receiving the proper calories from the right food groups. Recommendations made are children should get 45% to 65% calories from carbohydrates, 10% to 35% calories from protein, and 20% to 35% calories from fat. Following these guidelines can ensure a well balanced meal. Children should also limit the amount of high calorie/sugar added beverages such are juice and soda as well as limit the amount of eating out. A tip that should be followed is to never skip breakfast, as It truly is the most important meal of the day! Children should also limit the amount of screen time they have daily and increase exercise. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children  younger than two should avoid screen time all together and children older 2- years old should limit time to no more than one hour per day. Lastly, children should ensure they get enough sleep in order to rest and recover their bodies. These recommendations are put forth in order help prevent the ongoing increase in the incidence of childhood obesity.

Vittrup, B., & McClure, D. (2018). Barriers to Childhood Obesity Prevention: Parental Knowledge and Attitudes. Pediatric Nursing, 44(2), 81–94. Retrieved from http://library.neit.edu:2048/loginurl=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=ccm&AN=129092693&site=ehost-live

In this article written by Vittrup & McClure (2018) It is discussed how parents are the first influencers in a Childs life when It comes to food habits and preferences.  The amount a child eat is also determined by the parents and children are often told to eat everything given to them however, children need less of a portion than adults do. Children will usually eat until they are full so if the entire plate is not consumed It is important to realize they have had enough and to not encourage finishing the plate or compensating with high calorie snacks after dinner. The parents also control the child’s environment which include the activities they are encouraged to participate in and whether they are physically active or more sedentary. Several studies have found a link between increase in screen time and obesity. It was also found that children who are encouraged to play outside and are involved in more active play are less likely to be obese. Children are often unaware of their influence in their child’s habits of food and exercise, which later has a negative impact on the preferences of the child as they grow into adulthood. Having better education for parent during the prenatal period as well as into childhood can aid in better habits formed by their children as they grow and lead to lower rates of childhood obesity later in life.

By The Infant feeding network

After conducting my research I can say with certainty that the media of today is portraying childhood obesity in the correct light. The facts are truth and match the evidence given by scientific nursing journals. I believe that this information can be trusted as a way of education.

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