Childhood and Teenage Obesity
Chang, H., & Nayga JR., R. M. (2009). Television viewing, fast-food consumption, and children’s obesity. Contemporary Economic Policy, 27(3), 293-307. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-7287.2009.00157.x
Childhood obesity is an important issue because of the staggering proportions that this disease has reached in the past few years. Certain genetic factors paired with changing lifestyles and culture has produced kids, and adults, who are generally not as healthy as people were just a few decades ago. Childhood obesity is becoming widespread and growing problem in the world. Much like the United States and other countries, Taiwan has experienced a substantial increase in the prevalence of child obesity over the past few decades (Chang & Nayga JR., 2009). Widespread obesity has been the extreme result of these changes. Many of the parents, teachers, and friends of children who are obese become enablers because they either feel bad for the child or think that it’s cute or harmless. Not many people realize that childhood obesity is a rising epidemic and that it leads to many of the health problems that children face today.
Overweight children are more predisposed to the danger of becoming overweight in their adulthood unless they ensure healthier eating habits and exercise. The current lifestyle in which many children spend a lot of time watching television as well as the consumption of sugary and fatty foods has significantly contributed to the high prevalence of childhood obesity (Chang & Nayga JR., 2009). They are spending more time in front of the television then they are getting their daily exercise. Their growing bodies need exercise to lose baby fat before it gets to be a serious problem. The growth of technology has formed a major impact on the obesity of today’s children. Children may not understand the complexities of food intake or obesity but they continue to be affected by the issue. The reality is that if a parent enables their kids to make poor eating choices as children; they will struggle as adults to make the right eating choices. There was a time when chubby children were considered cure. It was assumed that their baby fat would melt away and a healthy adult would be left over. (Chang & Nayga JR., 2009).
One of the major factors in childhood obesity epidemic is the fast food industry. Parents often feed themselves and their children fast food even though they know it is bad for the bodies and hard to digest because the food does not contain fiber which helps the flush through the body systems. Working parents may not have the necessary time that permits for prepared home cooked meals before or after activities or events the families have planned for the day. The appeal to stop quickly for an inexpensive meal is tempting and had for busy families to pass up. If parents packed snacks for their children the night before with fruits and vegetables and throughout the day let the kids snack on then there would not have to be a stop made at fast food restaurants. Learning to eat healthy at a young age would allow children to pick healthy snacks over fatty ones (Chang & Nayga JR., 2009).
Young children should be involved in more physical activities and also establish better eating habits. They are usually brought up to be overweight, become overweight through bad habits, and are overweight because of an eating disorder or disease. Therefore, parents and family have a big effect on childhood habits and them, plus older siblings, must serve as a source of good inspiration for eating habits.
Leisure time activities in adolescence in the presence of susceptibility genes for obesity: risk or resilience against overweight in adulthood? . BMC Public Health, 12(1), 820-829. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-12-820
The occurrence of childhood and adolescent obesity has tripled in the past three decades. This increase has been accompanied by a dramatic rise in obesity-related health complications among American youth. Obesity in adolescents is a serious issue, with many health and social consequences that often continue into adulthood. An attempt is made to study the nature and causes of obesity in teenagers. Initial focus is on the origins of obesity; how family eating patterns, environmental and lifestyle, genetic inheritance, are crucial factors (Cuypers, De Ridder, Kvaløy, Knudtsen, Krokstad, Holmen & Holmen, 2012). Lifestyle and eating habits play an important part in childhood obesity and adolescent obesity. The long-term effects of this social scourge are discussed, and possible solutions for prevention explored.
The causes of obesity can be behavioral and environmental factors. There are many factors that contribute to obesity, including lack of adequate physical activity, a sedentary lifestyle, eating habits, environment, family habits and genetic inheritance (Cuypers, De Ridder, Kvaløy, Knudtsen, Krokstad, Holmen & Holmen, 2012). The environment in which a child lives has a great effect on how healthy the child will be. A healthy environment that promotes a healthy diet is one that encourages consumption of nutritious foods in reasonable amounts, and regular physical activity.
Obesity occurs when one consumes more calories than he/she burns. In the United States, the changing environment has broadened food options and eating habits. Shelves in the supermarkets are stocked with a greater selection of foods. Soft drinks, fast food restaurants and pre-packaged foods are more accessible today. Although such foods are fast and convenient they tend to be very high in fat and calories contributing to an excess caloric intake, causing weight gain (Cuypers, De Ridder, Kvaløy, Knudtsen, Krokstad, Holmen & Holmen, 2012).
The way to healthy lifestyle to reduce obesity amongst teenagers is to induce any kind of physical activity in their schedule This forms the fundamental criteria to leading a healthy life as physical activity ensures continuous burning of fats and increases metabolism thereby reducing the incidents of obesity in the first place healthy lifestyle modification is a permanent solution to getting rid of obesity. Lifestyle modification ensures that there are no harmful effects on the body and is a complete and lasting solution to combat obesity in teenagers on a life-long basis.
The nurse plays a critical role in preventing, treating and reversing obesity and its effects. Teenagers should be educated by nurses about diet and exercise to prevent and reverse the progression of obesity. A major aspect of preventing or reversing obesity is maintaining or losing body weight. The nurse should educate the teenager on how to lose weight during health history intake, while the patient is being treated in the facility and also during discharge.
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