Effects of childhood obesity are wide ranging. They affect the individual, communities or society and extend to cover an entire country. It is clear that in as much as the primary effect of obesity in both adults and children is centered on health, the impact goes further than health. Childhood obesity statistics show that pediatric obesity is a growing problem which has already turned into an epidemic. In this article we examine in detail childhood obesity effects.
Effects Of Childhood Obesity On Health
As noted earlier the first and foremost worrisome effect of obesity in our kids relates to its impact on the health of the children. Being overweight and obese for that matter increases the risk amongst kids of developing cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. In fact doctors have since established a very strong link between childhood obesity and diabetes particularly type 2 diabetes.
The main challenge moreso in the United States has been the rapid changes over the last three to four decades in as far as what type of foods people are able to access. Arguably so, the food environment has become extremely toxic with huge portions of society neglecting eating healthy instead preferring to eat quick and easy harmful fast foods saturated in fat and trans fats. This is amongst the leading causes of childhood obesity in America.
No doubt, the effects of childhood obesity spill into adulthood. This means the more pronounced health effects of pediatric obesity will likely manifest later in life when our kids are mature and in their mid-30s and 40s. To demonstrate this point, a study done at San Francisco General Hospital working together with Columbia University established that by the year 2020 as many as 44 percent of women and 37 percent of men of average 35 years old will be ill due to obesity. Shockingly the prevalence of cardiovascular disease would have jumped by some 16 percent. Mortality form heart related diseases amongst the age group 35 to 50 years old would have also jumped some 19 percent.
Studies such as those done in Denmark have successfully linked excess weight in childhood to later life health issues as alluded to above. Using (body mass index) BMI figures it became apparent that the greater the child's BMI during their first 7 to 13 years life the greater the risk of heart disease later in life. There is a clear demonstration of a proportional increase. Studies such as that in Denmark can be frightening to any average person. The Denmark study not only did it conclude that overweight and obesity are a health hazard later in life, it also concluded that merely being chubby by having some excess pounds had serious health implications for the future in children. No longer can we dismiss our chubby kids as baby fat. We have to and must take action early.
The effects of childhood obesity on health later in life appear to be practically controllable by implementing childhood obesity prevention and treatment programs early. This will involve a serious attempt to reduce or maintain a child's weight to within that which is recommended for their age. This way a health disaster would have been averted.
In as much as health problems may appear in the future, there are certainly health problems that will occur in the immediate due to obesity. Pediatric hypertension is a case in point. In fact it is now becoming common for high blood pressure to be found in children. Doctors estimate a hypertension prevalence of 4 to 5 percent amongst children. Another health effect coming about as a result of childhood obesity is arthritis. Once considered a preserve of the old and aged, arthritis is now creeping into younger people particularly children due to obesity. Kids may suffer from joint pains, back pains, hip pains, foot and knee pains. This is known medically as musculoskeletal pain.
Effects Of Childhood Obesity on Education
Apart from health effects, childhood obesity also carries a penalty on our kids in as far as their school performance is concerned. Even though for a while now studies have been heavily biased towards health effects of pediatric obesity there have been a few studies done confirming the effects of obesity on school performance amongst kids. These studies reveal that between the ages 3 to 8 years school performance drops amongst kids who grow obese. This may have an impact on the overall outcome of things into the future. This is demonstrated by other independent studies showing that people who remain overweight are likely to stop in their tracks in as far as further education is concerned going only as far as their high school diploma. They obviously become a burden on economies and communities.
The real reason why obesity in kids causes poorer school grades is not fully understood. It is however believed that this might have to do with damaged self-esteem amongst our children. Obese kids my fail to fit amongst their peers consequently affecting their confidence and school performance. Further absenteeism may also be relatively high amongst these kids due to immediate health effects of obesity such as arthritis. It has been noted that some teachers and educators may also unprofessionally use a child's obese condition to tease them. This is obviously embarrassing to the child deeply entrenching resentment for school and the education system in general due to loss of self respect for teachers and educators.
Effects Of Childhood Obesity on Society
The cost of childhood obesity on society is steep. Childhood obesity left unchecked is stealing the future from us. Chronic disease will affect a huge part of our societies which will affect productivity and economic outputs. In the United States it is estimated that the cost of dealing with obesity for both children and adults represent 9 percent of the total health budget. Up to $147 billion is spent annually due to direct and and indirect costs of obesity. The cost of obesity are high due to the many spin-offs such as diabetes, heart disease and so on.
Due to the fact that obesity also affects the psychology of children, its effects on society will include increased levels of depression. Children themselves may fall into depression as they fail to understand why they look so different from others and why they are discriminated. On the other hand the effects of childhood obesity on society will also include possible depression amongst the parents themselves terrified about the prospects of losing control over the health and social status of their children. This on its own my lead to societal breakdown should the epidemic be allowed to continue spiralling out of control.
Effects Of Childhood Obesity In America
America is feeling the stern effects of childhood obesity in one way or another. It is essentially a rude awakening. As more kids get disinterested in education as stated above, the future is bleak and the unemployed will only increase whom will require social support and unemployment benefits. America's problem is frightening as it is now estimated that one in every three children and adolescents is overweight.
Some studies such as those done by Optimal Weight for Life Program at Children's Hospital Boston and Harvard Medical School predict that life expectancy in the United States may as well be reduced by some 2 to 3 years by the middle of the 21st century. Follow link to learn in detail about childhood obesity in America.