Childhood obesity is widely described as excess in body fat in children and teenagers. There is, however, no agreement about exactly how much body fat is excessive in relation to the group. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention on its part defined overweight as at or above the 95th percentile of body mass index (BMI) for age and “at risk for overweight” as between 85th to 95th percentile of BMI for age (Krushnapriya Sahoo). In general clinic environments, the percentage of body fat is measured using various methods such as; getting the body mass index popularly referred to as BMI, establishing the waist circumference as well as measuring skinfold thickness. The methods used in clinics may not be as accurate as scientific methods use in research but they are good enough to identify the risk. In children, waist circumference is preferred over BMI.
Different factors are attributed to lead to childhood obesity, but generally, the accepted explanation is that it results from a situation where children take more energy than they use thereby creating an imbalance. The diet and lifestyle of the children are in this case directly linked to their energy balance. Researchers suggest that child risk factors for obesity include what the children eat, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. The different elements have a varying impact on the obesity of a child because they are regulated by factors like as how old the child is as well as gender (Ogden, Cynthia L., et al.). It has also been established that the parenting style that people employ as well as their lifestyle plays a role. Furthermore, the environment in which a child grows in regards to the policies adopted by schools as well as how busy parents are also influence eating and activity behaviors.
The role of genetics in contributing to the risk of childhood obesity has been researched extensively, and the findings have led to the conclusions that genetics do influence childhood obesity but the influence is not very significant in isolation. Several studies conducted have found that it there is a BMI is 25–40% chance of inheriting BMI characteristics. However, the influence of genetics on childhood obesity requires corresponding influence from environmental factors. The genetic factor is responsible for less than one in 20 of cases of childhood obesity (Ebbeling, Cara B, et al). This is good news because it means that many of the causes of childhood obesity are things that we can control.
In 2016, the World Health Organization estimate that there were over 41 million children who are not yet five years old were overweight with over half of them living in Asia. The prevalence of childhood obesity is also increasing t an alarming rate owing to urbanization and the dietary changes that now include the high composition of refined sugars and fat. Childhood obesity is a significant public health challenge because it has been found to have profound negative effects on children both physically and emotionally as well as affecting their social life thereby lowering the quality of life experienced by the child (Ludwig, David S., Karen E.)
In conclusion, there several factors that play a part in childhood obesity such as, what they eat, how active they, the environment they live in are as well as genetics. The good news is that a majority of these factors can be controlled. It is therefore vital that society focuses on these things and create dietary and physical interventions to promote healthy lifestyles among children and teenagers to curb the childhood obesity situation and in the long run promote a healthier society.
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