Childhood Obesity Sample Paper

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Childhood Obesity Sample Paper

The impact of being either overweight or obese straddles both physical and psychological health. These implications tend to be graver in children than adults due to the prolonged exposure to the state in the former group as well as multiple physiologic deviations that provide fodder for the complications of obesity to thrive (Kumar & Selly, 2017). Obesity is a singular independent risk factor for multiple lifestyle illnesses, among them, cardiovascular diseases, osteoarthritis, diabetes, and obstructive sleep apnea (Kumar & Selly, 2017). Children can also end up with hepatic and renal complications, hence reduced quality of life and productivity.

Obesity is a disorder of energy imbalance in the body. It is marked by excessive adipose accumulation, usually due to excessive intake or low usage of nutrients (Weihrauch-Blüher, & Wiegand, 2018). Energy physiology is a function of neurohormonal control through the hypothalamus, GIT, insulin, leptin, and other hormones such as pancreatic polypeptide and peptide YY (Weihrauch-Blüher, & Wiegand, 2018). The aberrant functioning of the components and/or pathways due to genetic, environmental (circadian rhythm), or lifestyle influences is what upsets the homeostasis and leads to obesity (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). Once the imbalance is set in motion, it leads to several downstream complications, some of which will be discussed further below.

Childhood obesity is defined as a weight increase beyond the 95th percentile for age-specific BMI. It has been increasing owing to the dietary choices (processed foods and frequent snacking), limited physical activity (heightened television viewing), genetic predisposition, and the sociopolitical environment in the country (Kumar & Selly, 2017). In relation to the latter, childhood obesity has steadily risen to epidemic proportions in developed countries owing to a multiplicity of factors not limited to nutritional policies, food availability, and pricing as well as a previous general lack of understanding regarding the ramifications of the condition (Kumar & Selly, 2017). However, with 42 million children projected as being obese in 2010, significant health education campaigns and research have been devoted to unpacking the condition to curtail its stealthy conquest.

Childhood obesity is also biting in the USA. According to Weihrauch-Blüher, & Wiegand (2018), the prevalence of childhood obesity has soared 2-3 times in the past three decades. Up to 16.9% of children aged 6-11years are classified as obese (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). The age-group mostly afflicted, however, is 12-19 years (20.6%), and the condition has had a role in the soaring burden of non-communicable diseases (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). At 13.9%, the prevalence of the condition among children aged 2-5 years, while lower, is still appalling (Sanyaolu et al., 2019). Also, (Sanyaolu et al., notes that adolescent girls are slightly more afflicted than their male counterparts (20.9% vs 20.4%). It is the nexus between obesity and physical and psychological health, and the subsequent strain on the healthcare systems that makes it a particularly worrisome public health prospect.

Medical consequences of childhood obesity are the most common and mirror the adult type. It is associated with various non-communicable diseases such as diabetes mellitus, dyslipidemia, asthma, fatty liver, obstructive sleep apnea, cardiovascular complications, and menstrual abnormalities (Weihrauch-Blüher, & Wiegand, 2018). Although most of these disappear upon acquiring healthy adolescent weight, some persist, condemning the child to a lifetime of suffering. Socially, obese children are often teased, bullied, or discriminated against by their counterparts.

They are also jeered and confined to social stereotypes which leads to their low self-esteem and impaired body confidence, a disliking of their body morphology, and consequently, poor academic performance (Weihrauch-Blüher, & Wiegand, 2018). The affected children end up with various psychological disorders such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and somatoform disorders. The conditions further increase the complexity of interventions needed to manage the ‘obesity epidemic’.

In sum, childhood obesity is a multifaceted disorder with extensive health ramifications. Preventing it can be achieved through parental education on nutritional requirements for their children, primarily focused on caloric intake, meal sizes, and frequency. The education should further cover the impacts of sedentary lifestyles orchestrated by extensive screen time in children. Overall, to tame the scourge, lifestyle modifications should be instituted at individual, family and society levels.