Such modern life features as comfort, the development of science and technology, environmental degradation, and other various factors affect the human body. They led to a sedentary lifestyle, the spread of fast food, the low availability of quality products, and general health deterioration. As a result, obesity and excessive weight are spreading among the world population. The seriousness of the problem is that it affects not only adults but also children. As a result, the young generation suffers from diseases that were previously common among the adult population despite their low age – high pressure and cholesterol, and diabetes.
Overweight and obesity are spreading fast among adults and children. They appear in the form of fat accumulations, which exceed the humans norm and threaten their health. Children’s different heights and body structures can sometimes mislead observers about the presence of excess weight. For this reason, specialists use a body mass index (BMI) calculator to accurately determine the presence of the problem (“Noncommunicable diseases,” 2020). It takes into account the child’s age, height, and weight. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than thirteen and a half million children are overweight and obese, which is 18.5% of their general number (“Childhood obesity facts,” 2019). The issue has serious consequences for physical and often mental health, but it can be prevented.
Constant weight monitoring and regulation in children are significantly important. It is most likely that overweight and obese children will experience the same problem in adulthood (“Noncommunicable diseases,” 2020). As a result, diseases that were previously spread among the population weakened by stress and age appear earlier. Mayo clinic specialist identifies such complications as high cholesterol and blood pressure, joint pain, respiratory problems, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) (“Childhood obesity,” 2020). The World Health Organization (WHO) adds to this list of diseases that manifest in overweight children when they become adults – cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and even cancer (“Noncommunicable diseases,” 2020). Thus, excess weight leads to many severe and often chronic illnesses that can contribute to the appearance of new complications.
The mental health of children with excessive weight and obesity is also likely to suffer. These kinds of issues appear due to low self-esteem, social problems, and, as a result, anxiety, and depression (“Childhood obesity causes & consequences,” 2020). Disapproval and, in more complex cases bullying, from peers negatively affect the child’s self-perception. As a consequence, children suffer from insecurity, which also leads to low quality of life. Moreover, to influence their appearance, some children may take unknown and potentially dangerous weight loss pills.
The most common causes of children’s obesity are improper diet and lack of physical activity. High-calorie food with more fats and fewer vitamins is often a more attractive choice for children than healthy foods. In leisure, sedentary activities – television, the Internet, and similar entertainments – became more interesting. However, genetic diseases, medicine, high levels of stress, and socio-economic factors may also be causes (“Childhood obesity,” 2020). For example, Datar and Nicosia (2018) have proven social contagion in the spread of obesity. In this way, the habits of a society in which individual lives can determine a potential problem. Moreover, the gap between rich and poor, government policies in particular areas limit access to both knowledge and quality products. Most of the reasons described can be prevented when adequately monitored.
Prevention is one of the most influential and essential aspects of maintaining health, and it can also be applied to the problem of childhood overweight and obesity. The goal of preventive measures is to acquire a balanced weight necessary for life. The most significant efforts are the formation of useful habits of proper nutrition and regular physical activity. For children, the primary example is parents – they establish behavior patterns and control nutrition. However, there are other influential factors, such as school, where children spend most of the day. For example, Bartelink et al. (2019) believe that the creation of schools with an emphasis on promoting a healthy lifestyle can become a useful preventive tool. Thus, it is vital to ensure that children understand the significance of their health and its strengthening.
It is crucial to establish specific nutritional standards and physical activity early. WHO recommends increasing the number of vegetables and fruits, reducing fat and sugar consumption, and devoting about an hour a day to physical activity (“Noncommunicable diseases,” 2020). However, Mameli et al. (2017) believe that the continued spread of obesity suggests that lifestyle correction is not enough. They argue that their multidisciplinary intervention is more effective, which, in addition to standard recommendations, also included regular doctor visits and psychological support (Mameli et al., 2017). This approach can be useful in overweight and obesity treatment as it maintains control.
Thus, an epidemic of overweight and obesity is spreading globally, which affects not only adults but also children. It can be argued that these problems have severe consequences for the young generation in the form of complications and diseases, not only at a young age but also in the future. The leading causes of excess weight are underactive lifestyles, poor nutrition, and social and economic factors. However, with proper control, both treatment and prevention of the problem are possible.
Bartelink, N. H., van Assema, P., Kremers, S. P., Savelberg, H. H., Oosterhoff, M., Willeboordse, M., van Schayck, O. C, Winkens, B., & Jansen, M. W. (2019). Can the Healthy Primary School of the Future offer perspective in the ongoing obesity epidemic in young children? A Dutch quasi-experimental study. BMJ open, 9(10), 1-9. Web.
Childhood obesity causes & consequences. (2020). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
Childhood obesity facts. (2019). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web.
Childhood obesity. (2020). Mayo Clinic. Web.
Datar, A., & Nicosia, N. (2018). Assessing social contagion in body mass index, overweight, and obesity using a natural experiment. JAMA Pediatrics, 172(3), 239-246. Web.
Mameli, C., Krakauer, J. C., Krakauer, N. Y., Bosetti, A., Ferrari, C. M., Schneider, L., Borsani, B., Arrigoni, S., Pendezza, E., & Zuccotti, G. V. (2017). Effects of a multidisciplinary weight loss intervention in overweight and obese children and adolescents: 11 years of experience. PLoS One, 12(7), e0181095. Web.
Noncommunicable diseases: Childhood overweight and obesity. (2020). World Health Organization. Web.