It is no secret that waistlines are getting larger and larger by the year. While health experts have long been alarmed at the number of adults that suffer from this disorder, they are shocked at the number of children that suffer from childhood obesity due to bad eating habits. Curbing the epidemic has widespread implications, and organizations across the world are working to restore the balance of health.
Causes of Obesity
There are many theories about what causes obesity in adults and children. Some theorize that aggressive marketing by fast food companies have created brand loyal children that grow up on fatty and unhealthy foods and continue the trend into adulthood. Despite the dangers of foods that are high in saturated fats, calories and sugar, marketing messages for fast food still saturate the airwaves and the Internet.
Others blame childhood obesity on children's activity and growing disinterest in physical play. With school districts across the country cutting out physical education programs, home economics classes and nutrition education, children are packing on the pounds with little or no concern to healthy eating.
There are other camps that blame the progress of families with one parent in the home to those with both parents working. Critics theorize that with Mom outside of the home, families are more likely to eat convenience meals that contain fewer nutrients and more trans fats.
The Effects on Children and Adults
Whatever the reasons for the millions of overweight children and obese adults, the effects are crystal clear. Obese children are more likely to suffer from juvenile diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, high cholesterol and low self esteem. Heavier children are more likely to be bullied in school and have lower grades than their normal weight counterparts. Overweight children quickly grow into overweight adults who continue the same unhealthy habits from childhood. These heavy adults then have children of their own and continue the cycle.
Overweight adults are more likely to suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, a condition that causes a person to stop breathing several times during the course of a night. They are also more likely to lose a limit to uncontrolled diabetes and to suffer strokes and heart attacks. According to the Centers for Disease Control, they are also more likely to develop breast, cervical, colon and pancreatic cancers.
Fighting Fat and Losing
Despite Herculean efforts to get kids and adults to eat healthy and lose back and belly fat, the problem is only worsening. In 2010, nearly 33 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 12 were obese. Now that number has climbed to 37 percent with no signs of slowing. A recent study showed that only three percent of second graders could name ten or more vegetables. Ask yourself this, How many vegetables can you name?
Solutions to the Crisis
Schools, parents and health officials across the nation have been working to find a solution to the problem. Some schools have special health menus and have made physical activity a part of their curriculum. Others have cut out soft drinks from school vending machines and replaced them with healthier choices.
The obesity epidemic has caused a crisis across the world. Fortunately, steps have been taken to reverse the trend and return to a healthier state. If we all do our part in educating our children and packing them a healthy lunch, and encouraging them to be more active then together we can start to beat obesity in children one step at a time.