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Childhood Obesity CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Aspects of Childhood Obesity and the Health Care System By achel !ohnson

Childhood Obesity

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Aspects of Childhood Obesity and the Health Care System By achel !ohnson Introd#ction $It has been estimated that %orld%ide o&er "" million children #nder the a'e of ( are obese) and 1 in 1* children is o&er%ei'ht+ ,-td.in !#mar (//0. Childhood obesity has been a 'ro%in' problem for the %orld. It has led to many different st#dies to try to find o#t %hy this is happenin' and %hat can be one to pre&ent it. Co1morbidity and health care costs are becomin' the pre&alent res#lt of childhood obesity. Lac2 of physical acti&ity and ed#cation are t%o bi' factors that infl#ence %ei'ht. Ho%e&er) the bi''est infl#ence is diet and ho% it is ab#sed. 3any Americans ha&e the attit#de or belief that their children4s %ei'ht can be corrected by a doctor. They do not reali5e that diet is a lifestyle chan'e that m#st last for the rest of their li&es. 6arents m#st ta2e on more responsibility for their child4s n#trition. 6ro'rams can be implemented to ha&e correcti&e action. A B3I ,body mass inde70 bet%een the 8( th to /9 percentile is considered o&er%ei'ht. A B3I that is e-#al to or abo&e the /( th percentile is considered obese. Some common factors that infl#ence childhood obesity are c#lt#ral beha&ior and socioeconomic stat#s. :hen one is %itnessin' e&eryone aro#nd them eatin' fast food or processed and refined food) they are led to belie&e that this is acceptable beha&ior. 3ost of these indi&id#als are tar'eted by food companies that ma2e these types of food seem more affordable than %hole foods. 6eople of lo% socioeconomic stat#s are commonly #ned#cated) especially abo#t n#trition. $Offsprin' more li2ely to be obese at childhood %ere those %itho#t pri&ate ins#rance at birth) born by cesarean section) %ith hi'her birth %ei'ht) %ith mothers obese at pre1pre'nancy or at 91( years follo%in' pre'nancy) and %ith a %ei'ht 'ain of more than " lbs. per month in the first 9 months of life+

Childhood Obesity

, ooney) 3athiason and Scha#ber'er 11<80. Clearly o&er eatin' is a habit chosen by the parents and is imitated by their children. This st#dy %as be'an in 1/88 and contin#ed thro#'ho#t the children4s li&es for 1( years. 9< percent of the children in this st#dy %ere still obese as ad#lts. The media for hi'h calorie foods and drin2s ha&e ta2en o&er the commercials in children tele&ision sho%s. Social media has ta2en o&er children4s recreational time. =ideo 'ames) tele&ision and internet #se are the common daily acti&ities that children do. There is little to no mental or physical stim#lation ta2in' place %ith this sedentary lifestyle. 3oreo&er) children do not display any desire to chan'e their daily ro#tines. =endin' machine choices are #s#ally poor in n#trition. Some &endors sell healthy prod#cts b#t they are #s#ally &ery hi'h in cost. :hen safe nei'hborhoods and par2s are not a&ailable) 2ids %ill a&oid these places rather than #se them for e7ercise. Lar'e portioned meals ha&e become the norm for resta#rants and fast food chains. Indi&id#als are infl#enced to belie&e that these portions are normal or necessary. $>oods c#rrently mar2ed as lo%1fat or $all nat#ral+ are e7tremely hi'h in their total calorie content+ ,-td.in Spr#it13et5 1;(0. ?nfort#nately) the ma@ority of the %orld does not 2no% ho% to real food labels. They are easily misled by decei&in' %ords on pac2a'es s#ch as li'ht) healthy or lo% carbohydrate. There %ill al%ays be somethin' s#bstit#tin' the in'redient that has been remo&ed s#ch as e7tra s#'ar or salt. 6arents sho#ld be held as the most responsible parties in this sit#ation. $6arental misperception is common) %ith as m#ch as <".9A of o&er%ei'htBobese children bein' incorrectly percei&ed as ha&in' normal %ei'ht+ ,-td.in Al@#naibi) Abd#l) and Ca'en2er2e 10. 6arents may be tryin' to be protecti&e of their children4s feelin's ho%e&er) they are ab#sin' their children4s health. 3oreo&er) parents may feel that their children are not o&er%ei'ht beca#se their si5e is &ery close to that of their peers. $Obesity is nearly three times hi'her for children %ho sleep less than 8 ho#rs per ni'ht.+,Dtd.in Spr#it13et5 1;E0. Children #s#ally ha&e some sort of screen de&ice in their bedroom that dist#rbs or interr#pts their sleep. :hen the h#man body is lac2in' sleep) the hormone le&els of 'hrelin 'o #p and

Childhood Obesity

leptin 'oes do%n. $Fhrelin is a hormone that stim#lates appetite) leptin si'nals satiety+ ,Spr#it13et5 1;80. Adipose or abdominal fat is %here leptin is made.

A common disease associated %ith childhood obesity is type t%o diabetes or ins#lin resistance. An o&erflo% of beta cells in the pancreas release more ins#lin that can be processed %hen the blood 'l#cose concentration is too hi'h. The li&er cannot remo&e ins#lin as -#ic2ly as it flo%s in. It is ho%e&er possible for this process to be re&ersed if a child chan'ed their diet and e7ercise habits. Some other common diseases are hi'h blood press#re) sleep apnea) hi'h cholesterol and heart disease. $The per capita medical spendin' for and obese person is ro#'hly 9"A hi'her than for a person of normal %ei'ht+ ,-td.in Spr#it13et5 1"/0. The medical costs of childhood obesity are &ery hi'h d#e to the complicated diseases associated %ith obesity. Costly proced#res s#ch as bariatric s#r'ery are bein' #sed on children. 6rescriptions) pro&ider &isits and other proced#res are the main ca#se of hi'h health care costs. Depression) an7iety and stress can be ca#sed by obesity. Ad&ersely) obesity can ca#se these symptoms. Comp#lsi&e eatin' can be tri''ered by any of these three diseases. A 'enetic disorder co#ld ca#se obesity s#ch as 6rader1:illi Syndrome. A 'irl is more li2ely to ha&e an early menses) as yo#n' as a'e se&en. Some diet pills are a&ailable as prescription or o&er the co#nter. 6hentermine is a prescription stim#lant that decreases appetite. Genical is an o&er the co#nter dr#' that bloc2s the fat absorption of food. These medicines may ha&e temporary positi&e effects for %ei'ht loss ho%e&er) once a person stops ta2in' them) they %ill not %or2. They are also dan'ero#s for the h#man body especially a child. :ith bariatric s#r'ery) patients often de&elop a ne% habit s#ch as prescription dr#' ab#se or ci'arette smo2in'. >ood is an addiction for these children. Beha&ior modification thro#'h psycholo'y is often re-#ired for obese children to f#nction thro#'ho#t life. There are pro'rams that can be implemented no% to pre&ent obesity and to c#re c#rrent

Childhood Obesity

s#fferin' patients. 6eople %ho can help are ones that already %or2 %ith children. $3any yo#th or'ani5ations s#ch as Boys and Firls) Firl Sco#ts Boy Sco#ts already ha&e a n#mber of pro'rams #nder %ay+ ,Hoplan) Li&erman and Hraa2 <10. They can re-#ire more physical acti&ities to participate in. They co#ld also teach healthy eatin' s2ills. Ch#rches and recreation centers co#ld p#t to'ether lo% cost sport teams or e&ents. $The 'o&ernment sho#ld increase s#pport for yo#th and their families abo#t the importance of 'ood n#trition and re'#lar physical acti&ities+ ,Hoplan) Li&erman) and Hraa2 (80. 6eople %ho are on 'o&ernment pro'rams s#ch as SCA6 ,S#pplemental C#trition Assistance 6ro'ram0 or 3edicaid sho#ld be ed#cated abo#t eatin') e7ercise and ho% to read food labels. They sho#ld be ta#'ht abo#t the potential health ris2s from their beha&ior. Day cares and school l#nch pro'rams need to be e&al#ated e&ery year for modifications to the men#s. =endin' machines sho#ld offer lo%er cost healthier options in schools s#ch as pean#ts or protein bars. >ast food places and resta#rants need to post honest n#trition facts %here they can be &isibly read by e&eryone. 3ichelle Obama has ta2en some steps to help %ith c#rrent child hood obesity. Her 'oal is to end this disease by "*1;. $She #r'ed the man#fact#res of Doritos) >root Loops and Spa'hetti1Os to ma2e them healthier and to cooperate %ith the 'o&ernment on ne% food labs+ ,H#ber 110. So far) there ha&e not been any si'nificant chan'es that %o#ld ma2e a health conscio#s cons#mer %ant to b#y these prod#cts. She also started the Healthy H#n'er >ree Hids Act in December of "*1*. The p#rpose of this act %as to monitor the hot l#nches and side items bein' sold in p#blic schools. A chan'e that too2 place %as a s%itch from pean#t b#tter to sesame b#tter on sand%iches. Also) cream cheese is no% bein' ser&ed in place of b#tter for ba'els. The steps are &ery small and slo% paced. ?nfort#nately) portion control is still not bein' addressed %ith school food. Children are free to b#y as many side items as they %ish as lon' as they ha&e eno#'h money. 6epsi) Coca1Cola and Cestle ha&e teamed #p %ith the 6artnership >or A Healthier America 6ro'ram in "*1*. $The coalition has pled'ed to c#t 1.( trillion calories from its members4 prod#cts by "*1(+ ,H#ber 190. 6epsi has come o#t %ith some lo%er

Childhood Obesity

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s#'ar sodas that comply %ith the pro'ram. It is a 'reat start to one of the most addicti&e be&era'es in the %orld. :al13art has @oined the obesity fi'ht as %ell. $In !an#ary "*11 the chain said it had made an a'reement %ith the 6artnership >or A Healthier America to c#t prices on healthy foods) and red#ce the sodi#m and s#'ar in pac2a'ed foods+ ,H#ber 1(0. This %as s#ch a 'reat approach to pers#ade indi&id#als to b#y and eat healthier foods. Ho%e&er) their efforts ha&e not been displayed %idely and ha&e not they been informati&e eno#'h to the p#blic for any benefits to arise. $Ci2e) a man#fact#rer of athletic apparel) pro&ides f#ndin' to b#ild or ref#rbish sports co#rts and other p#blic athletic facilities nation%ide+ ,Hoplan) Li&erman) and Hraa2 (/0. The main foc#s sho#ld be to pro&ide acti&ities and centers for children and their families to participate in to'ether. These facilities sho#ld implement safe pro'rams for families and children %ho cannot afford a 'ym membership. C#tritionists and dieticians ser&ices sho#ld be offered to all indi&id#als and not e7cl#de anyone d#e to their financial stat#s. $Health ins#rers and 'ro#p health plans can ma2e &al#able contrib#tions. Creati&e options may incl#de pro&idin' member families %ith incenti&es to participate in re'#lar physical acti&ity perhaps by offerin' disco#nted fees for @oinin' health cl#bs+ ,Hoplan) Li&erman) and Hraa2 <"0. Ins#rance companies and health care pro&iders can potentially lo%er the cost spent on diseases from childhood obesity. 6arents need to be the first to ta2e action to protect their children4s health. Eatin' healthy to'ether is the most important acti&ity that parents can instill in them. 6ortion si5e sho#ld al%ays be 2ept small and a food scale %o#ld help people reali5e ho% m#ch they are act#ally eatin'. 6arents m#st be role models for their children. They can also participate in o#tdoor family acti&ities to'ether. 6arents and children sho#ld 2eep their recreational electronic #se to one ho#r per day. This co#ld ens#re that physical acti&ities are incorporated into each day. A hi'h B3I needs to be ta2en serio#sly

Childhood Obesity

and health care pro&iders can assist parents in this area. There sho#ld ne&er be any smo2in' allo%ed aro#nd children. $Schools sho#ld ens#re that all children and yo#th participate in at least ;* min#tes of moderate to &i'oro#s physical acti&ity d#rin' the school day+ ,Hoplan) Li&erman and Hraa2 <"0. School co#ld offer lon'er recess times and brain brea2s d#rin' class. A brain brea2 is #s#ally a physical acti&ity that all children in a class room participate in for one min#te se&eral times a day. It #s#ally consists of @#mpin' @ac2s or dancin'. C#trition classes sho#ld be offered to st#dents of all a'es. Some schools ha&e already started 'ardens %here st#dents 'ro% and sell their prod#ce. This creates pride and interest. St#dents %ill %ant to taste their o%n fr#its and &e'etables. In concl#sion) childhood obesity is a h#' epidemic that needs to be addressed immediately. E&eryone can p#t in some sort of effort to help. 3ore responsibility needs to be p#t on the children so that they %ill 2no% ho% to handle a sit#ation %hen they are not %ith their parents. ?nhealthy foods are &ery addicti&e and it is best to refrain from p#rchasin' them. It is important to eat at home or brin' from home so that there are not #nhealthy emer'ency foods that ha&e to be bo#'ht. Comm#nities can coordinate acti&ities to'ether that in&ol&e physical mo&ement. $doses of e7ercise bet%een 1"* and 1(* min#tes per %ee2 of 3=6A %ere li2ely to be s#ccessf#l+ ,-td.in Spr#it13et5 19*0. 3=6A means moderate to &i'oro#s physical acti&ity. As lon' as calorie e7pendit#re is lar'er or e-#al to calorie inta2e) %ei'ht loss %ill occ#r. Contrarily) e&eryone sho#ld 2eep in mind not to p#sh children into anore7ia. Bein' healthy is the most important factor.

Childhood Obesity eferences

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