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Abstract: Childhood obesity has been growing at the critical stage now and is the most common nutritional problem among children in developed as well as in developing countries. This unhealthy trend will progress to adulthood and is expected to lead to huge economic costs in health and social security systems. Among the many factors which contribute to the increasing prevalence of childhood obesity include environment, poor eating habits and food choices, lack of exercise, psychological issues and stress and also genetic factors. This paper then comes up the readers with the way on how to prevent the child becoming obesity and also some treatment that are needed for childhood obesity. Keywords: Childhood obesity, obesity, factors, prevention, Malaysia
INTRODUCTION A balanced diet comprising of diverse and healthy foods is key to promoting good health. Foods contain vital nutrients that aid our body’s metabolic function. However, a lack of consumption of these nutrients or feeding upon the wrong kinds of food leads to an accumulation of toxins within the body, resulting in chronic diseases in the long run. A nutritious diet while ensuring overall well being, helps to maintain a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI), reduces the risk of several debilitating diseases like cancer, cardiovascular ailments, diabetes, osteoporosis and stroke. Thus a nutritious & healthy diet is important in the prevention and cure of various diseases. Obesity is the most common nutritional problem among children in developed countries.1 Overweight and obesity in childhood are known to have significant impact on both physical and psychological health. The mechanism of obesity development is not fully understood and it is believed to be a disorder with multiple causes. Obesity is emerging as a widespread nutritional problem, although being underweight is still a problem. Being overweight during childhood and adolescence increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression and others illness.
Jonathan Sorof & Stephen Daniels, “Obesity hypertension in children: a problem of epidemic proportions”, American Heart Association, 40, 2002, 445.
and Sanchez. Weight categories is determine by using Body Mass Index (BMI) to measure weight adjusted for height. (Kuala Lumpur.” The Endocrinologist. 2009) 110. Table 1: Pravelence of overweight in children according to age and sex. 2001. Obesity is the most common nutritional problem among children in developed countries.8% among 10-year-olds as presented in Table 1.2 In Malaysia.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia The prevalence of overweight children in Malaysia has increased in recent years. Analysis and Action. Institute for Medical 3 9 . Overweight children increase the risk for certain medical and psychological conditions.3 Gareth Williams & Gema Fruhbeck. (United State: John Wiley and Sons. p306. resulting in a positive energy balance. Malaysian Country Paper for the FAO/WHO International Conference in Nutrition. 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 B oy Girl Source: Segal. Obesity: science to practice.6% among 7-year-olds. due to children’s changing body compositions over time and the different growth rates of boys and girls. Age and gender is specific BMI for children. This situation is due to the level of awareness amongst Malaysian regarding childhood obesity. 2 Tee ES & Cavalli-Sforza LT. “Childhood obesity in the year 2001. It show that overweight children have an increased risk of being overweight as adults. David G. 11. rising to 13. a survey has also demonstrated increasing prevalence of obesity with increasing age: 6. Obesity is caused by an imbalance in energy input versus output. Nutrition in Malaysia: Assessment.. Juan C.
Table 2 shows the changes in sources of calories in Malaysia from 1961 to 1997. 4 Tee ES. 1993) 98. calories Research. This issue of childhood obesity can be control by doing a lot of physical activity. and snacking more frequently. leading more and more people to consume quick service or restaurant meals or to buy ready-toeat. However. These include significant changes in the dietary patterns such as an increase in consumption of fats. while an increase in the percentage contribution of fat. In general. early detection and seeking the right treatment if necessary. rapid and marked socio-economic advancement over the past two decades has brought about significant changes in the lifestyles of communities. In Malaysia. 9 . The nutritional composition of children’s diets as well as the number of calories consumed is of interest to determine the effect of food consumption on childhood obesity. coupled with changes in lifestyle to one of urbanisation. have increased the demand for food and induced changes in food habits. trend data suggest some changes in eating patterns and consumption that may be correlated with increases in obesity. “Nutrition in Malaysia: where are we heading?” Malaysia Journal of Nutrition. children and adolescents are eating more food away from home. food purchasing and consumption patterns. Income and population growth.4 Convenience has become one of the main criteria for people food choices today. Food balance sheet data are useful to indicate trends of food intake patterns rather than consumption per se in the absence of nation-wide food consumption surveys. the amount of calories obtained from cereals decreased from 61% to 41%. oils and refined carbohydrates and a decreased intake of complex carbohydrates. NUTRITION AND EATING HABIT It is difficult to correlate nutritional choices and childhood obesity using observational research. 5. 87. drinking more sugar-sweetened drinks. low cost.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia That also determines their attitudes or behavior towards the seriousness of this issue. 1999. meanwhile. quickly accessible meals to prepare at home. This has resulted in a decline in the proportion of energy from carbohydrates.
unhealthy eating patterns Ministry of Health Malaysia & Academy of Medicine Malaysia.8 1.8 1.3 3. 2003.8%.1 1.0 1.6 1.4 1.8 12. Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Health.4 Sources: Ministry of Health Malaysia and Academy of Medicine Malaysia. ( Kuala Lumpur: Ministry of Health.9 4.2 2.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia from meat.7 2. fish.0 6.0 1.2 21. respectively.5 11.4% to 14.0 9.9 9.0 6.5% to 18%.5 3.0 12.8 1.8 1.9 57 1. Clinical practice guidelines on management obesity 2003.9 3.9 3.9 48.4 3.9 3.0 14. eggs and fish increased from 6.9 41.2% to 14.9 3.4 17.0 14. Clinical practice guidelines on management obesity 2003.9 40 2. 2003) 10.2 1.3%.4 1.4 12. excluding butter Sweeteners Oils & fats Miscellaneous 1961– 63 1970–72 1979–81 1988–90 1997 61 1. sweeteners from 9. eggs Milk.8 1.8 13. Overweight in children and adolescents are generally caused by a lack of physical activity.9 12. and oils and fats from 11. 1961–1997 Year Cereals Starchy roots Vegetables & fruits Pulses Meat. 5 9 .5 Table 2: Changes in sources of calories in Malaysia. CAUSES OF CHILDHOOD OBESITY The causes of childhood obesity are multi-factorial.8 18.
and the food that they consume has many empty calories.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia resulting in excess energy intake. Figure 1: Food pyramid Sources: How much is a serving? 1992. the food that they eat does not provide enough nutrition for a children needs. This group of children eats food that is low in nutrition and high in fat.com/results. 2008) 89. Most factors of overweight and obesity do not work in isolation and solely targeting one factor may not going to make a significant impact on the growing problem. & Ric G. media and marketing.aspx?q=much-&src= b) Lack of Exercise Lack of regular exercise is a factor that has contributed to this being one of the causes of childhood obesity. This same group of children eats lots of sweets food which in general have empty calories. Handbook of childhood and adolescent: issues in clinical child psychology. 6 9 . Retrieved 19 Feb 2011 from < http://search. Steela. race or ethnicity. Genetics and social factors socio economic status. and the physical environment also influence energy consumption and expenditure. In other words.live. or a combination of the two. This group of children eats fast food meals. rich desserts and drinks with a lot of sugar. Children who spend a lot of time watching television programs will have a greater risk of child obesity than those who go outside playing Elissa Jelalian. They also usually over eaten.6 a) Poor eating habits and food choices Bad behavior is also one of the causes. (New York: Springer.
Attitudes. David Crawford & Robert W. Modern lifestyles have improved the quality of life but also contribute greatly to physical inactivity. These children are born with genes that cause them to put on weight more quickly than other children.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia or sporting. genetic factors play a role in the risk of obesity development. The family home is an important place to learn about proper nutrition and enough physical activity. e) Environments The environment too plays a role in the causes of obesity. PREVENTION TO CHILDHOOD OBESITY Although trying to help overweight children lose weight is important. some children are naturally predisposed to obesity. 2005) 126. This too is not easy. Some children have a difficult time dealing with stress so they use food as a comfort when they feel. The DNA cannot be changed but some small changes such as walking to school. and beliefs about food selection and how to spend family leisure time are critical factors to forming a healthy relationship with food. feeling anxious or being angry. c) Genetics In the general population. playing outdoor games rather than letting children stay at home and avoid exercise. especially if the child is at risk for becoming obese. habits. 7 d) Psychological issues and Stress Some people are mildly obese was cause by psychological or stress problems. 7 9 . like if they have overweight parents. even more important may be trying to prevent them from becoming overweight in the first place. Jeffery. Obesity prevention and public health. Unfortunately. (New York: Oxford University Press. but something that needs to be started in early childhood. This is typically true when the children are eating fast food while watching television or playing video games. and many children are prone to eating in response to negative emotions like being bored.
Prevention may include primary prevention of overweight or obesity. 2010) 102. the aim is to slow or reduce weight so the child will grow into his or her body weight over a period of months to years.9 Three forms of intervention include: Luis A. Given the insidious consequences of childhood obesity. There are three main ways to prevent the child becoming overweight or obese: Figure 2: Three main ways to prevent the child obesity TREATMENT FOR CHILDHOOD OBESITY Obesity treatment programs for children and adolescents rarely have weight loss as a goal. understanding how best to prevent it remains the principal research priority.8 Indeed. and avoidance of more weight increase in obese persons unable to lose weight. Rather. Epidemiology of obesity in children and adolescents: prevalence and etiology. There is considerable evidence that childhood eating and exercise habits are more easily modified than adult habits. secondary prevention or prevention of weight regains following weight loss. Early and appropriate intervention is particularly valuable.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia Almost all researchers agree that prevention could be the key strategy for controlling the current epidemic of obesity. (New York: Springer. 8 9 . a recent review of obesity in children and young people concluded that obesity prevention is ‘the only feasible solution childhood obesity alike. Meredona Aznar.
self-monitoring and recording food intake and physical activity. 2008) 9. 10. 43. especially reduced dietary fat. CONCLUSION Obesity is a chronic disorder that has multiple causes. Linton. b) Diet Management Fasting or extreme exercise is not advisable for children. psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Ergonomics. Handbook of obesity intervention for the lifespan. 9 . Not only is this approach psychologically stressful. and maintain lost weight. limiting the time and place of eating. Overweight and obesity in childhood have significant impact on both physical and psychological health. Larry C. slowing the rate of eating. c) Behavior Modification Many behavioral strategies used with adults have been successfully applied to children and adolescents. Overweight children are more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases in adulthood as compared with those who are lean. Encyclopedia of obesity. (New York: Springer. “Promoting children’s physical activity in primary school: an intervention study using playground markings”. but it may adversely affect growth and the child's perception of normal eating. Most studies of children have not shown exercise to be a successful strategy for weight loss unless coupled with another intervention. 1538. In addition. James & John C. and using rewards and incentives for desirable behaviors. exercise has additional health benefits. 11 Nutrition education may be necessary. have been used successfully in treating obesity. is valuable to burn fat. increase energy expenditure. 2008) 67. 11 10 9 Kathleen Keller. Gareth Stratton.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia a) Physical Activity Adopting a formal exercise program. or simply becoming more active. 2000. Balanced diets with moderate caloric restriction. such as nutrition education or behavior modification10. However. Particularly effective are behaviorally based treatments that include parents. (New York: Sage. It is believed that both over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity are mainly involved in childhood obesity.
further research needs to examine the most effective strategies of intervention. schools or after-school care services as natural setting for influencing the diet and physical activity and at home and work for adults. 9 . These strategies should be culture specific. These strategies can be initiated at home and in preschool institutions. and consider the socio-economical aspects of the targeting population. However. and diet. Both groups can benefit from an appropriate built environment. primary or secondary prevention could be the key plan for controlling the current epidemic of obesity and these strategies seem to be more effective in children than in adults.Term Paper and Annotated Bibliography: Childhood Obesity in Malaysia Apparently. prevention. and treatment of obesity. A number of potential effective plans can be implemented to target built environment. physical activity. ethnical.
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