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The Tragedy of Childhood Obesity

Feb 6, 2008
Years ago, there were very few overweight children, but in recent years, the number of children who are overweight or obese has been rapidly climbing. As these numbers climbed, so did the rate of diabetes in this country, and more children were being diagnosed with Type II diabetes, which is commonly seen in older individuals.

The theory was that the increased obesity rates in children were related to this problem, and it is necessary to look at the problems that overweight and obese children have, both physically and emotionally, because childhood obesity can turn into a lifelong obesity struggle with yo-yo dieting and other problems.

Physically, these children deal with many ailments at an earlier age than was previously assumed to be the case, and even heart disease can start in childhood when sedentary lifestyle and a high calorie diet causes weight gain. Emotionally, many of these children are also depressed and uncomfortable with their bodies and lives.

This is, naturally, problematic, and can leave emotional scars that do not go away as these children get older, but continue to affect them as they grow into overweight or obese adults.

The last decade has seen the largest increase in childhood weight problems and obesity, and this is true not only of the United States but also of other countries. Being overweight in childhood can cause problems with growth, the abnormal metabolism of glucose, hepatic steatosis, psychosocial difficulties, hyperlipidemia, and other complications, especially if the weight problem persists into adulthood.

Even if children lose the weight as they move into their adult years, they may still have lasting damage from the weight gain of their youth. It becomes, therefore, very important to keep children from becoming overweight or obese in the first place, and to help those children that already have the condition to lose weight as quickly and safely as possible.

One of the chief concerns when it comes to childhood obesity and problems with weight loss is the amount of fast food that children consume in their diet. Over the last 20 years or so, fast food purchases in this country have increased until they take up 40% of the money spent on food in the average household.

This is part of the issue, but the amount of calories that children receive from snacks (now around 25%) is also of increasing concern. Both of these food-related issues, coupled with the lack of exercise in the lives of most children today has much to do with how many children are gaining weight today, and it can stop them in their efforts to weigh less naturally.
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