The Health Risks of Obesity in Children

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The Health Risks of Obesity in Children

Being overweight is something that is being more and more common in children and something that needs to be tackled as soon as possible. Apart from the physiological harm it can cause from bullying and low self-esteem, there are serious health risks to being overweight as a child.

It is estimated that there are over 22 million children throughout the world who are obese. School aged children in America and Western Europe is the groups that have seen an annual increase since 1970. However, it has been shown that over 75% of overweight and obese children are from low and middle income countries.

In the UK, a survey from 1995 – 2001 showed a significant increase of obesity in children but a more recent survey (2007) showed that there was no significant increase in children aged 2 – 15 years old. In the 1995 – 2001 survey, it showed that the rise in obesity levels in boys was 17%, whilst girls showed an increase of 12 – 16%.

It is believed that this stabilising period is because of recent health promotions in the UK. Famous chefs, such as Jamie Oliver (also known as the Naked Chef), has campaigned to improve the meals that children eat during school hours. This includes swapping burgers for salads and campaigning for healthier snacks in vending machines.

Obesity in children has been thought to be caused by different reasons. Low levels of energy input and expenditure is one reason. Children do not seem to be as active as previous generations were. Today’s children tend to sit in front of the computer for hours playing games online, or sit in front of the TV watching movies and other programs, when they could be playing outside and getting rid of all that pent up energy that they have hidden deep within.

Diet plays a big part in obesity in children. Fatty foods, such as burgers, chips and chocolate will build up the fat levels stored in their bodies. Change their diets – add in plenty of healthy foods like fruit, vegetables and salads. This is not to say that they shouldn’t have these other foods, but use them as treats not every day meals.

Sleep deprivation can also add to obesity in children. Studies have shown that children going to bed at later times could contribute to obesity in children. Those who do sleep too little have lower levels of leptin and higher levels of ghrelin which build up fatty cells.

Obesity in children is a serious problem. It can seriously damage a child’s self-esteem but can cause heart, liver and kidney problems in later life. It is recommended that you should tackle the problem as early as possible to avoid this trouble.


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