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The Health Repercussions of Childhood Obesity and Health

Children who are considered overweight are likely to face obesity issues when they become adults.  Obese children have high blood pressure and unhealthy levels of cholesterol, two contributors toward heart disease.  Type 2 diabetes is a serious health issue that obese children may face.  These conditions are often treated with medications that were previously prescribed to adults only. 

According to the National Institutes of Health, a major problem that is suffered by obese children is sleep apnea, which can lead to memory problems and difficulty learning. The NIH also reports that obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.

Alarming Statistics

Over the past 30 years, the number of overweight children throughout the world has doubled.  In the United States, over 30% of children between the ages of 6-19 are considered to be overweight.  Of those, 15% are listed as obese.

Childhood obesity has become such an alarming issue that it is a major subject discussed within the World Health Organization, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control. 

What is the Cause of Childhood Weight Problems?

The problem is multi-faceted and there is a lot of finger pointing.  Consumption of fast food, the adding of enzymes, steroids and other non-natural ingredients to otherwise whole foods such as milk, and the availability of vending machines in schools, movie theaters and malls are often blamed for the dramatic rise in childhood obesity.  Other factors include lack of exercise because children are turning to computers and television for entertainment, rather than outside games like they used to play.

What Can Be Done?

Parents need to teach their children about healthy eating, the types of foods to avoid, and self-discipline.  Obese children must also adopt a plan that eliminates high carbohydrate refined foods from their diet, and must commit to a regular physical activity. In addition, psychological factors should be addressed.