Childhood Obesity: Physical Effects

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Obesity can be a problem as early as kindergarten for some children. Children who suffer from obesity will most likely put a lifelong struggle with physical and emotional consequences.

The physical effects of obesity on children are struggling to keep up with exercise, sleep, and trouble breathing. Not only are obese children more often affected by asthma, they also have problems with sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is recognized with greater frequency and incidence of pediatric obesity rises. Clinically significant effect on learning and memory skills has been reported in children with sleep apnea as a result of obesity. (Must, Aviva, Ph.D., et al, 2003 “Effects of obesity on morbidity in children and adolescents,” Nutrition in Clinical Care, p. 8).

obesity clearly influence the health of a growing baby. It is also considered an important disease because of the link to long-term health problems including type II diabetes, hypertension, some types of cancer, lack of energy and asthma. The incidence of type II diabetes in children is expected to grow a concomitant increase in obesity. Start of diabetes in childhood is a predictor of early onset of complications of diabetes include cardiovascular disease, kidney failure and amputations (Must, p. 131). About 60% of overweight five to ten year old children experience at least one associated biochemical or clinical cardiovascular risk factors such as hyperlipidemia, high blood pressure, or increased levels of insulin, and 25% have two or more (cables, JP, Deitz wh. “Calorie Imbalance and Public Health Policy” The Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999. p 1579).

Children from lower income families are at a greater disadvantage because the majority of this population lives in neighborhoods with problematic children. Concerns about street safety, children are often kept inside by parents and they tend to spend more time watching television or playing video games.

playground in lower income neighborhoods tend to be filthy, with broken bottles, trash and graffiti covering the park. Although children are basketball courts, swings and jungle gyms, they are usually not child friendly. Garden are usually built with young people hanging out, intimidating younger children. This is not a safe environment for children to play in and not one in which children could safely play without supervision.

Schools are contributing to childhood obesity we did not do gymnastics important part of the curriculum. Children do not get enough exercise in school. Time allotted for gym is inadequate and infrequent. Teachers can try to compensate by providing their classes with more outside play time. The physical education program is very important and deserves more attention.

Implementation of after-school programs that emphasize physical activity such as Kick Ball and basketball should be a priority. There is a need for after school athletic program at the elementary level to increase the physical education program and ensure a safe, healthy environment for lower income children. This would be beneficial for children and parents, and an important factor in reducing childhood obesity.

Copyright (c) 2007 Gurion Blattman

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