Reasons and affects of Childhood Obesity
Obesity is a disease which affects people of all ages, gender and ethnicity. It is a condition where body accumulates excessive fat in the body due to several factors which may be either environmental or genetic. Childhood obesity has reached an alarming figure and the most affected nation is US where 33% children are suffering from it. It has become an epidemic and can be said as a disease of 21st century. The modern technology has made us inactive; lack of time has made us lead an inactive lifestyle which indirectly affects our children lifestyle too. It is a disease which can be recognized easily but the treatment is difficult. Obese children grow up as an obese adult and may have to face serious health problems in their lives. Childhood obesity needs our immediate concerns and steps should be taken to prevent it.
The causes of childhood obesity are quite clear and can be classified as the following:
ü Inactive Lifestyle – children today are more interested in playing indoor games like video games etc. this has taken out the physical activity from their lives. Being a couch potato is also a big reason for their inactive lifestyle. Busy parents are happy to keep them engaged in television or game stations instead of engaging them in outdoor games and some mind simulation games.
ü Poor Dietary habits – there is no proper time of eating and that too junk food and fast food. There is hardly anything nutritious in their diet. Statistics prove that a lot of money is spent on snacks daily.
ü Stress – This less known reason for childhood obesity is true as a child faces a lot of pressure in their school and home as well to perform well. This can make them develop eating disorders and it could also lead to lack of confidence in a child.
ü Genetics - Well sometimes it could be the genes which are responsible for obesity. Family history can help in finding this out and more care should be taken when anything like this is on the cards.
Obesity can be defined as a gateway for many other life threatening diseases and childhood obesity is no way different. It could lead to more serious conditions. The diseases caused by childhood obesity are enlisted below.
1. Glucose metabolism is impaired- it is a serious condition and can lead to death of a child. This is one of the earliest signs or disease that an obese child develops.
2. Disproportionate bone mass – obese children have low bone mass and are not in proportion with body mass. This could lead to osteoarthritis and fractures.
3. High blood pressure – this increases the risk of cardiovascular disease resulting in early death of the child.
4. Type II diabetes – there has been an increased risk of developing Type II diabetes in children with obesity. The body is not able to produce insulin and the high glucose can affect eyes, heart and can also cause severe kidney problems
5. Asthma – increased body mass increases the risk of asthma
6. Cancer – It has been seen that childhood obesity also results in development of certain cancers.
7. Heart Problems – accumulation of fat leads to constriction of blood vessels and arteries due to which oxygenated blood does not reaches the heart. Obese children can develop heart disease early which could lead to early death.
These are some of the physical diseases which affect a child, but it can affect the overall personality of a child also. Obesity affects the child emotionally, physically and economically. Obese children are more prone to emotional instability. It could lead to poor self-image, and lack of confidence resulting in diseases like stress, depression and anxiety. It is a scientifically proven fact that obese children are low on self-esteem as compared to a healthy child. This happens because they face social isolation, bullying and teasing from their friends. When a child is under pressure it is obvious that it would affect his academic career as well, they are not able to concentrate in their studies and lack of friends because of their obesity worsens the situation.
Childhood obesity can be prevented by improving our lifestyle. It is important that parents set an example of a healthy lifestyle to the children. It is important to make a child realize the importance of healthy diet and exercise. Treatment of obesity can cost you your fortune but prevention will help you in being a responsible and a healthy individual.