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What is Childhood Obesity?

By Nat Robinson
Updated May 17, 2024
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Childhood obesity is the term given to children who are significantly above the average range of weight for their age group. This is an alarming problem, as obesity in children can lead to serious health problems which may linger into adulthood. Around the world, there are millions of children struggling with this obesity epidemic. There have been many factors outlined as possible contributors to childhood obesity. The most common contributors include poor nutritional habits, a lack of physical activity and, in some cases, genetics.

Poor nutritional habits are commonly amongst the leading causes of childhood obesity. Children are consuming foods that are remarkably bad for their health. This includes foods that are high in fats, sugars and caffeine. Generally, most fast foods and preprocessed meals fall into these categories. Younger children are sometimes given these types of foods because they are quicker to prepare, while older children may make such selections for themselves because the taste may be more appealing than healthier counterparts, such as fruits and vegetables.

Another common cause of childhood obesity is the lack of physical activity. Many children spend a great deal of time doing activities that require them to sit for long periods of time. This may include using the computer, playing video games and watching television. If eating becomes a common attribute of any of these activities, this may mean long periods of eating in a stationary position. Obesity may occur if food is being consumed quicker than it is being worked off.

Genetics have been thought to predispose a child to obesity as well. Many children with severely overweight parents may themselves battle the same problem. In addition, some children are prone to picking up the same eating habits as their parents. For instance, if a parent has poor nutrition habits, there is a great chance that his or her child may as well. Proactive parents may take measures to change this situation by incorporating more healthy food selections into the daily diet of the entire family.

There are many risks of childhood obesity, which can make this condition all the more dangerous. Severely overweight children may develop serious health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, high blood pressure, and other various heart problems. With the stakes so high, it is important to take measures on preventing childhood obesity. Making more healthy food choices available is an ideal way to begin a healthier lifestyle for children. Another good start can be to promote childhood exercise both in school, as well as at home.

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