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A growing health issue in American society is the epidemic of childhood obesity. As stated by Ludwig (2007), 1 in 3 youths and adolescents can be considered overweight or obese as indicated by their body mass index with rates as high as 50% in some specific ethnic groups. With the health issues associated with childhood obesity being both numerous and serious, obesity among today’s youth is also associated with various psychosocial complications that can adversely effect quality of life. With the problems associated with childhood obesity being undeniable, questions arise regarding what are the key factors that are contributing to this diminishing health quality of today’s youth.
Although society has become infinitely more complex technologically in the past 2 decades, the formula for weight gain has remained the same: when energy in is greater than energy expended, weight gain occurs. Despite it’s simplicity, the information in this equation provides valuable clues to why the weight of children continues to increase at an alarming rate. The progression of technology has dramatically improved the speed and ease with which we can access information and communicate with other but has also dramatically decreased the amount of physical activity performed by children. Decreased physical activity reduces calorie expenditure which decreases the amount of calories that can be consumed without gaining weight. Yet, the increased access to high calorie drinks and snacks has resulted in increased caloric intake. Decreased output and increased input has resulted in the gross weight gain seen in this generation of children.
Outlining the existence of the problem is important but how we go about addressing it is even more so. Educating the community regarding the potential health issues associated with childhood obesity is an important first step in increasing awareness regarding the severity of the situation. Of even further importance is the providing of information and strategies for addressing the situation with their children. With simple but diligent steps towards monitoring your diet and increasing daily physical activity, substantial changes in the health of children and future adults can be made. For specific information regarding how to address this problem, you can visit http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/npao/strategies.htm.
Ludwig, D.S. (2007) Childhood Obesity- The Shape of Things to Come. New England Medical Journal, 357 (23), 2325-2327.
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