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Childhood Obesity as Big Problem in the Contemporary Society Research Paper

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Updated: Jan 31st, 2020


Obesity refers to a health state in which surplus body fat accumulates such that it may pose unfavorable consequences on wellbeing of an individual.

It is determined using the body mass index, commonly referred to as BMI, and further analyzed by fat dispersion through the waist-hip quotient and overall blood vessel threat features. The body mass index is has a great correlation to the percentage body fat and whole body fat.

In children, weight is classified as either healthy or unhealthy depending on age and sexual category. Obesity in children and teenagers is not classified as a fixed figure, but in association to a past standard set, so that obesity is a body mass index larger than the 95th percentile.

The reference information on which these figures are founded is from 1963 to 1994, and as a result has not been impinged on by the latest rises in weight. “Body mass index is worked out by dividing the individual’s mass by the second power of his or her height” (Kraybill, 2010, p. 112).

An individual who has more body fat than is optimally fit is said to be overweight. This is a widespread phenomenon, particularly where foodstuff provisions are abundant and the standards of living are lean on the inactive. The obesity problem is a phenomenon world over and it cuts across all age groups.

A fit body needs a least quantity of fat for the appropriate performance of the hormonal, procreative, and resistance systems like caloric padding, shock absorption for sensitive area as eyes, and as energy for upcoming use (Kraybill, 2010, p. 109). But the amassing of too much storage fat can mess up motion and suppleness, and it can as well make a person look unattractive.

Obesity in American children

Obesity in the United States has been all the time more alluded to as a main health concern in the latest decades. At the same time as a lot of developed nations have seen comparable rises, obesity levels in the United States are among the highest world over. Statistics show that by the year 2007, an approximate 74.1 percent of grown persons were overweight or obese (Bascetta, 2009, p. 34). Americans have thus become concerned about the increasing number of obese children, who mostly grow with this problem into adulthood.

Causes of childhood obesity

A broad array of ecological, societal, physiological and behavioral aspects acts upon energy equilibrium in the body. This is the equilibrium between energy ingestion and energy utilization. The fundamental basis of obesity and the state of being overweight is affirmative energy equilibrium.

This takes place when a person’s energy ingestion from foodstuff and drink(s) is over and above the energy they burn up as a result of corporeal action and other metabolic activities, over a long-drawn-out period of time. This can be attained through a rise in energy ingestion, a decline in energy use up, or a blend of the two.

The dietetic energy provision for each person differs distinctly between various regions and nations. It has as well altered considerably with time. From the beginning of the 70s to the late 90s, the standard calories obtainable per individual per day have gone up gone up in all regions of the globe other than Eastern Europe (Kolata, 2007).

“The US was rated as having the greatest accessibility with 3,654 calories for each individual in 1996. By the year 2003 this had gone up further to stand at 3,754. Compared to other parts of the world, Europe had 3,394, Asia had 2,648 and Sub-Saharan Africa stood at 2,176 calories per individual” (Kolata, 2007). These figures explain why the prevalence for obesity especially among children is high in the United States.

The extensive availability of dietary instructions has not done much to deal with the problems of eating too much and poor nutritional preference. “In the period from 1971 to 2000, obesity numbers among children in the United States went up from 14.5 percent to 30.9 percent” (Kolata, 2007).

There was also comparable increase in these levels in the other age groups in society. A majority of the added calories came from a rise in carbohydrate intake as opposed to fat intake (Cobert, B. & Cobert, J., 2010, p. 42). The major supplies of these additional are pacified drinks, which at present stand for almost 25% of day after day calories in the young in America. Intake of these sugared beverages is believed to be throwing in to the increasing cases of obesity.

As civilizations turn out to be all the time more dependent on energy-dense, large-quantity, and fast-food banquets, the connection involving fast-food intake and obesity becomes more worrying. In the US intake of fast-food banquets went up threefold and calorie consumption from these foods quadruplicated in the period from 1977 to 1995.

The Agricultural guidelines and practices in the US and Europe have ended up in cheaper food costs. Subsidies on maize, soya, wheat, and rice through the United States farm bill has made the major foundations of manufactured foodstuff less expensive judged against fruits and vegetables.

Living an inactive life, without physical exercise is also among the greatest causes of obesity. A shifting societal and physical set up that enhances an inactive standard of living has been on the rise. This combined with consumption of earlier discussed foods high in fat content and lack of exercise promotes obesity.

With modernity there are increased use of motorized movement and a replacement of manual chores by electronic equipment at home. This is more especially in children whose physical activities have become even less. A link has been established between television watching time, and susceptibility to obesity; this is not just for children but adults too.

A research carried out in 2008 established that, in 63 of 73 cases studied, there was an augmented rate of childhood obesity with more media exposure. This was 86 percent of the cases and rates went up proportionately to time taken in front of television.

Reminiscent of other therapeutic situations, obesity is the consequence of an interaction involving hereditary and ecological aspects. Polymorphisms in a variety of genetic material having the power over desire for food and metabolism incline to obesity when adequate calories are available.

In American children, as of 2006 over and above 41 of these sites have been connected to the advance of obesity when a complimentary setting is available. Individuals having two copies of the FTO genetic material that is linked with obesity and fat mass have been observed to have average weights of 3-4 kilograms more (Ortega, Ruiz, Castillo, Sjöström, 2007, p. 1). Such persons also have a 1.67-fold higher risk of obesity judged against individuals lacking the risk allelomorph.

Researches that have laid emphasis on birthright models as opposed to definite genetic material have established that 80 percent of the progeny of two obese parents were obese, in disparity to less than 10 percent of the progeny of two parents who were of standard heaviness.

The thrifty genetic material theory suggests that some ethnic groups may be more prostrate to obesity in the same setting. Their capability to take benefit of exceptional times of large quantity by stocking up energy as fat would be beneficial in periods of unreliable food accessibility, and people having larger fat stores would be more expected to endure food shortage. This predisposition to stock up fat, though, would be dysfunctional in set ups like the United States with reliable food supplies.

A number of bodily and cerebral sicknesses and the pharmaceutical materials used to take care of them can add to the risk of obesity. A number of these illnesses have been noted in children in the United States and they include; glandular disorders, hyperadrenocorticism, development hormone insufficiency, and eating disorders.

There are also a number of prescriptions that these young ones are exposed to and are known to enhance weight increase or alterations in body makeup (James, Kerr, 2005, p. 54). Examples of these prescriptions are endocrine, steroid, a number of anticonvulsants and some types of hormonal contraception.

Effects of obesity in children

Obesity and surplus body weight is indisputably associated with persistent health problems such as coronary heart illness, hypertension, diabetes, and in some cases cancer. These health effects are setting in earlier than normal as kids gain excess weight at juvenile ages. As a result, it has been noted that obesity is one of the factors that trim down the life expectancy of most people.

Obesity is among the leading causes of early deaths world over. Researches carried out in both America and Europe has established that death risk is least at a body mass index of 20 – 25 kilograms per meter square. Obesity trims down life expectancy by six to seven years.

Obesity raises the threat of a lot of physiological and cerebral conditions as has been observed in a number of American children. Such unwholesome nesses are mainly exhibited in metabolic pattern, which is a blend of therapeutic disorders such as; diabetes mellitus type 2, hypertension, and high blood cholesterol (Belluck, 2010).

These problems are either straightforwardly as a result of obesity or in some way associated by way of systems dividing up a general cause like poor diet or an inactive way of living.

Childhood obesity can lead to various psychological problems. Weight matters can be especially risky as one gets to the teen years. This is due to the kind of setting that this group lives in the society. Self-esteem is a major issue here as the young ones are out to judge against others of their age.

Weight and bodily appearance is one of the aspects that get recognition. As a result, an obese child is likely to feel out of place when with his or her slimmer colleagues. This affects such a child’s self –esteem in a major way. A low self-esteem in any individual, especially the young ones is not good at all as it will impact their growth and development negatively.

Children with obesity normally end up getting depressed. This is as a result of them preoccupying themselves with how other persons act in response to them. Obese children bring forth more off-putting peer responses judged against standard-weight counterparts. Peers do play an all the time more imperative role in one’s life, and affirmative interfaces are vital.

Solutions for obesity in children

Medical intrusions have not confirmed to be very effectual in trimming down obesity or weight in the end (Khilawala, 2010). The way of life of families needs to shift in order to tackle the problem. Sole breast-feeding is advocated in all infants for its dietetic and a number of other positive results. Breast milk as well protects one to a large extent against obesity in afterward life.

There needs to be the building up and upholding of all-time healthy eating and bodily activity provisions to prevent obesity and overweight problems. A balanced diet is important and should contain low fat and low energy foods. To make children avoid gaining a lot of weight, parents need to ensure that energy expenditure in the children is greater than energy consumption over a phase of time.

This is mainly attained by ensuring habitual bodily activity and a healthy, well balanced diet. There should be a broad range of foods in a meal and these foods should be in modest quantities.

It is not only the parent(s) or guardian(s) of children who bear the responsibility of ensuring children grow to be healthy. The society at large has a role to play as well. Public institutions such as schools and the media also have a major role to play, not forgetting the child himself or herself.

Teachers and other instructors of children should encourage them to be active physically by teaching them the importance and at the same time need to involve these kids in activities like physical education. The media and especially television is a major attraction to children. Children’s programs can incorporate lessons on the importance of one leading a healthy lifestyle.


From the discussion above, it is apparent that childhood obesity is big problem in the contemporary society. It has been discussed that obesity comes mainly due to an imbalance in energy intake and energy use in the body. Other cited causes include intake of fast foods, pacified drinks, or even failure to engage in physical exercises.

After children become obese, they risk developing heart diseases, diabetes, and even cancer. Obesity may also result in psychological problems like lack of self-confidence or even depression.

To solve the obesity problem, there is need for children and their parents to appreciate that, unhealthy eating habits have a great contribution to obesity. Therefore, children should be fed with the right quantity of a balanced diet to ensure that they do not gain extra weight.

It is also important for children and their parents to appreciate the fact that fast-foods and junk foods may lead to obesity. Children should also be encouraged to engage in exercises in order to increase their energy consumption. All in all, obesity is a problem that can be effectively prevented.

Reference List

Bascetta, C. (2009). Childhood Obesity. Oxford, UK. P34-38.

Belluck, P. (2010, January). . Web.

Cobert, B., Cobert, J. (2010). 100 Question & Answers About Your Child’s Obesity. Canada: Jones and Bartlett. 42-43.

James J, Kerr D. (2005). Prevention of childhood obesity by reducing soft drinks. Int J Obes (Lond) 29 (Suppl 2): S54–7.

Khilawala, R. (2010, January 2). Causes of Childhood Obesity. Web.

Kolata, G. (2007). Rethinking Thin: The new science of weight loss — and the myths and realities of dieting. Picador.

Kraybill, D. (2010, October). Childhood Obesity is an epidemic. Web.

Ortega FB, Ruiz JR, Castillo MJ, Sjöström M (2007). Physical fitness in childhood and adolescence: a powerful marker of health. Int J Obes (Lond) 23 (1): 1–11.

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