Childhood Obesity: Causes and Some Prevention Ideas

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The most common causes of obesity in children are poor diet and lack of sufficient exercise. Understanding the role that diet and exercise play in causing obesity requires more than just counting the number of calories burned and consumed. For good health and fitness, quality is as important as quantity.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey to track changes in obesity rates from 1971 to 2000, the sweetened drinks can account for nearly 25% of daily calories in American youth. Fructose is used to sweeten many drinks only compounds the problem. Research at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that the process by which sugar is converted to fat increases when glucose is divided fructose.

Environmental and socioeconomic factors also come into play. Rules and technology have led to lower corn, soy, wheat and rice prices compared to other fruits and vegetables. Establishments fast have taken advantage of these cheaper food with menus that primarily offer foods high in fat, sugar and calories. While fast food may suit a fast-paced lifestyle, a study by US Department of Agriculture says that from 1977 to 1995, Americans tripled their consumption of fast foods. Children from low-income families are particularly vulnerable to eating these more available, cheaper, processed foods.

Family factors can affect the health and fitness as well. Children who are overweight parents are likely to be overweight themselves. Shared family behaviors such as limited movement, or a tendency to overeat to cope with problems, may result in a shared family obesity. Children are more likely to become obese if the family pantry is stocked with high-calorie snacks.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, are more likely to be overweight children who spend more than 4 hours a day watching TV. The Kaiser study found children ages 8 to 18 spend nearly 4 hours a day in front of a TV screen and almost 2 more hours on the computer. Health and fitness of children at risk and become sedentary activities and school fitness programs cut.

Although less common genetic and hormonal causes of obesity are not available, such as Cushing syndrome (a hormonal disorder) and Prader -Willi syndrome (hereditary), these are extremely rare. Blood tests and a general physical exam can rule out diseases that cause obesity child.

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