The Crime of Teen Obesity

Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat, which is identified through the concept of Body Mass Index (BMI). Specifically, overweight refers to an excess body weight with a BMI of 25 to 29.9. However, individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. Although our society is preoccupied with the “art” of thinness, obesity is finally recognized as an increasing health problem.

Furthermore, children who suffer with obesity are more likely to become obese adolescents and obese adolescents will likely become obese adults. According to data collected in the late 1990s by the National Center of Health Statistics, obesity increased dramatically amongst Americans of all ages. The number of children and teens from ages six to nineteen who are overweight accounts for fifteen percent (almost nine million). This percentage significantly tripled according to the data collected in 1980.

This common eating disorder usually associated with adolescents can weaken physical health and well being as well as shortened life expectancy. Although as children, they typically experience less weight- related health issues, however as adults, the risks monopolize. As an adolescent, especially, the development of personal identity and body image is rather important. Unfortunately, that concept is inversed by constant taunting and poor treatment. Significantly enough, some children are more critical of themselves.

A particularly high percentage of children struggling with obesity, particularly girls, become clinically depressed as a result of a preoccupation with being overweight. As previously mentioned, obesity has the tendency to result in medical problems. The more prominent problems could be Cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, respiratory and metabolic diseases to name a few.

More over, it has been researched to manifest itself through psychological hardship. Subsequently, obesity in adolescents will require a combination of treatment to include behavioral change therapy to deter negative self-esteem and the physical health component.

Shocking numbers show that one in every five children in the Unites States is overweight while every fourth child is obese in Australia. As these are saddening percentages, the United States has discovered the main causes of this epidemic. The fundamental factors that contribute to obesity are the lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating habits, genetics or a combination of each. Basically, obesity is enhanced as the energy intake exceeds energy expenditure from physical activity.

With the predominance of the electronic revolution, children and adolescents are focused on the televisions, electronic games, videos and DVDs instead of outdoor physical activities. Studies reveal that approximately twenty- five percent of young (ages 12- 21 years) report that they are not involved in any vigorous physical activity. Additionally, young individuals consume a great deal of junk foods that are satiated with fat, cholesterol and sugar.

What is the solution to raising healthier children and adolescents? First of all, only two hours are recommended for children to watch television daily. After recent studies were conducted in 2005, it discovered that for every extra hour of weekend television at age five increased the chance of obesity at age thirty by seven percent. Believe it or not, Americans actually spend $33 billion annually on weight loss products and services. Perhaps, this has not proven effective. Secondly, the interactive dietary guidelines were implemented by the USDA in April 2005.

These guidelines suggest that total fat intake should be limited between 30 to 35 percent of calories for children two to three years of age. In children and adolescents four to eighteen years of age, the total fat consumption should remain between 25 to 35 percent of calories. Most fats are recommended to derive from sources of polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids such as fish, nuts and vegetable oils.

As a parent of young children, you should provide as much guidance regarding the proper intake of foods. For example, you could start training your kids at an early age to eat healthy or replace junk food with healthy snacks. And it is just as important to encourage physical activity by taking the child on family walks. If your child is struggling with obesity, provide complete parental support and utilize any of these recommended solutions.

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