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Tuesday, 29 October 2013 09:30

Child Obesity Featured

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Child Obesity

                   Jennifer, Ashleigh, Brook & et al (2012) examined the causes of obesity in children. They examined a wide range of factors including individual behavior, social environment, physical environment, genetics and access to health care services.  The findings from the research showed that obesity was linked with parental obesity, educational level, and birth weight, physical activity, eating behaviors, urban residence and motorized transportation.  Genetic factors play an important role in child obesity. Parental obesity results to child obesity.  The prevalence of obesity differs from one race and family to another because of genetic factors.   Child obesity is as a result of different genetic factors.  Polymorphism in genes controlling metabolism and appetite expose children to obesity (Jennifer, Ashleigh, Brook & et al, 2012). Apart from genetic factors, the individual behaviors of children and parents lead to child obesity.  Most children and parents engage in unhealthy behaviors that increase the likelihood of being obese.  They include poor eating habits and lifestyle.   School aged children do not eat healthy diets, and this has resulted to increase in child obesity.  The children eat foods rich in sugar and fats. Children eat fast foods that contain high contents of fats and sugar (Jeniffer, Ashleigh, Brook & et al, 2012).

Moreover, researchers associated obesity with the physical environment.  The   investigators noted that physical activity is essential in preventing obesity in children.  Children who engage in physical activity regularly do not suffer from obesity.  They noted that children who engaged in outdoor activities were not overweight and obese like children who did not engage in outdoor activities.   Children live in different physical environments, and this affects their health.  Some children live in areas with recreational facilities while others do not.  The availability of physical amenities such as recreational facilities reduces cases of child obesity as children exercise regularly. Further, the social environment is linked with child obesity.  Social characteristics of an environment influence the activity environment and food environment. For instance, neighborhoods having   high rates of crimes have limited opportunities for outdoor activities. This in turn, hinders children living in such areas from exercising often and exposes them to obesity (Jennifer, Ashleigh, Brook & et al, 2012).


            The most important determinants are individual behavior, social and physical environment.   Individual behaviors such as poor eating habits and life style expose children to obesity. Many children eat unhealthy diets including fatty and sugary foods. Parents do not provide children with healthy diets including foods and vegetables. Also, lack of physical facilities like play grounds prevents children from exercising and thus makes them vulnerable to obesity. The determinants can be controlled to prevent obesity (Jennifer, Ashleigh, Brook & et al, 2012).   

Epidemiological data from CDC has shown that child obesity has doubled in children and tripled in teenagers for the past 3 decades. The number of children aged 6 and 11 years suffering from obesity has increased.   The increase in child obesity cases is linked to unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity and poor lifestyle.  The physical activity and dietary behaviors of children are influenced by different things in the society like families, communities, medical services among others. Poor access to health care has increased obesity cases in children as children do not get screened and treated early.  The epidemiological data has been used to develop population health measures and develop policies to prevent child obesity like education and awareness policies (CDC, 2013).


CDC. (2013). Child Obesity Facts. Retrieved from on 24/03/2012

Jennifer, F.L., Ashleigh, M.L., Brook, B., & et al. (2012). Population Level Intervention Strategies.Annual Review of Nutrition, 32, p391-415


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