An individual’s weight is determined by the balance of calorie intake as well as the amount of physical activities in which he/ she participates. If a balance is maintained between these two, then an individual can maintain appropriate body weight. On the other hand if the amount of food consumed is more than the number of calories burnt, then the extra energy is stored in the body in the form of fat and as a result an individual gains weight. The mechanism of losing weight is simply the opposite of this. Below are the common causes and effects of obesity.
Causes of Obesity
If one or both the parents suffer from obesity, then there are increased chances that the children will also become obese. Inheritance of obesity is the reason why some new born babies are also born with obesity. Genetics plays major role in regulating fat regulation in the body. A hormone called Leptin is present in the placenta as well as fat cells in the body. Hence, it can promote obesity to some extent.
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Especially if the diet is rich in fats, then overeating is also a very common cause of obesity. Foods high in sugar/ fat as well as fried and fast food can also promote the deposition of fat in the body, ultimately leading to obesity. The frequency of eating also decides the amount of weight gained by an individual.
Slow metabolism & inactivity
The more the muscles in the body, the faster the metabolism rate is. This is the reason why women have comparatively slower metabolism than men. People who lead an inactive lifestyle with minimal physical activities also tend to gain weight and become obese.
Effects of Obesity
Obesity has numerous negative effects on the body:
Overweight individuals tend to suffer from diabetes. Usually obese people acquire Type 2 Diabetes as they reach adulthood. But this problem has now become common in children as well. Being obese interrupts the functioning of the insulin hormone in the body. This hormone is responsible for regulating blood sugar in the body.
High blood pressure
Obesity puts extra pressure on the heart in order to draw enough oxygen for the tissues and cells in the body. As a result, the blood pressure increases and hence the individual suffers from high blood pressure. In an effort to supply enough oxygen to all tissues and organs in the body, heart makes blood to flow through additional blood vessels and hence is a big threat to the patient’s life.
Osteoarthritis is also a common problem faced by obese people. Because of the stress on the legs and hip due to being overweight, an individual can suffer from joint pain.
Hardening of the arteries, also known as Atherosclerosis, is common in people suffering from obesity. This is because of the deposition of fat along the walls of arteries and blood vessels.
Not only this, insomnia is also very common in obese people. Leading a healthy lifestyle is the only way of preventing as well as getting rid of obesity.
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Childhood Obesity & Its Effects
Childhood obesity is one of the most worrying conditions faced by children during their early life stages. As in the 21st century, childhood obesity remains as one of the most serious public health challenges. This condition is global as it affects different people from different geographical regions. In addition, it steadily affects people living in low and medium income countries (Cameron, 2006). Within the past few years, the rate at which the social condition is rising has raised a lot of concerns from different people. Studies show that the obese and overweight children are at high possibilities of remaining under this condition even their adult life. This implies that it is a serious condition that requires a lot of attention.
Obesity, as a health condition, not only affects how we look but also changes the course of people’s lives negatively. Obese and overweight conditions link directly with other communicable diseases such as diabetes and cardiac malfunctions at a younger age. Severe cases of childhood obesity place the victim at higher risks of death of the individual during adulthood (Cameron, 2006). Like any other disease and conditions, obese and overweight conditions can be prevented. In order to deal with cardiac and diabetes, childhood obesity needs to be dealt with during its initial stages.
Childhood obesity is a condition linked to several causative factors. These factors range as from societal factors to diet trends of the child. Childhood obesity results from energy imbalance between calories consumed and calories generated by the body. Increase in cases of childhood obesity in the globe can be associated with the change in global trends. Diet shift in the globe can be linked to the calorie imbalance in the child’s body. Childhood obesity can be caused by several factors. There is no single factor that can be directed as the causative of childhood obesity.
However, childhood obesity can be influenced by lifestyle, environment and genetic factors that integrate leafing to childhood obesity (Cameron, 2006). Some of the common issues that lead to childhood obesity include an increase in portion size of the foods eaten when away from home. Poor nutrition, described by eating habits also plays a role in causing childhood obesity. Poor nutrition incorporates intake of foods with high levels of calories while having minimal nutritional values. Choices made on foods influence health status of the consumer.
This is a qualitative analysis of the foods consumed. On the other hand, while considering the quantity of foods consumed by people, large quantities of foods also have an impact on the health status of the people. This implies that eating out in high quantities (unhealthy consumption of foods and beverages) is a contributing factor towards obesity conditions among children. Lastly, social factors also play a role in childhood obesity. These conditions include transport movements, playing habits and as well the social setting of the child. This is a research paper that discusses poverty as a social factor playing a role in childhood obesity (Cameron, 2006).
As stated earlier, childhood obesity is a health issue that raises concern among many people. It is a condition that is not only dependent on other health status of the victim, but also influenced by the social determinants of health (Ziol-Guest, 2009). As highlighted, social determinants of health are conditions in the physical, social and economic environment where people are born, live and work that affect the health conditions of individuals.
Social environment surrounding the children includes the interaction that lies between families, friends and workers (Cameron, 2006). In addition, it also considers the interaction that lies between obesity and cultural norms and community expectations. Poverty, as one social factor used to describe the interrelationship between people contributes to childhood obesity. Poverty can be described in terms of basic needs, homelessness and as well transportation issues facing people. Poverty limits the freedom of choice of the family members. As a social factor, it incorporates the interrelationship that lies between people living within a society.
Studies show that poverty indirectly relates to obesity (Ziol-Guest, 2009). According to American heart association, research shows that the physical activities, done by both young and adults have an impact on obesity cases in US. Studies reflect that more than half of American population does not get enough physical activities that provide them with health benefits. In addition, around 24 percent of the U.S population is not active at all during their leisure time.
This implies that, in America, there is a large group that does not benefit from recreation activities during their leisure time. Researchers’ state that the physical activity during leisure time depends on the income levels of the group. This is a trend that shows that most low-income earners in America rarely engage in physical activities (Ziol-Guest, 2009). Physical activities are important among children as they engage them in burning their body calories preventing cases of calorie imbalance in their bodies. Among the poor families, children are at higher risks of suffering from obesity conditions since they are doing not engage themselves in physical activities providing them with health benefits.
Nutrition is another factor determined by income levels of people. In a school setting, children are offered with a wide variety of meals. However, the wide variety of meals is dependent on the income levels of their families. Children from poor families end up relying on a similar meal while at school (Cameron, 2006). Poor nutritional content is one characteristic of their meals. This suggests that they are at higher risk of suffering from the obesity conditions resulting from their daily meals at school.
On the other hand, poverty at their homes determines the nature of the foods that they consume. Since their households have low income levels, their meals are characterized with under nutrition which may lead to an imbalance between body calories leading to childhood obesity. Researchers state that poverty conditions in many households determines the food content that the respective families depend on thus contributing to obesity to the members (Cameron, 2006).
Ziol states that the low income during the parental years affects later life overweight. He also states that it has an impact in the childhood obesity condition through the biological pathways that prevail across the social setting of the family (Ziol-Guest, 2009). He continues with his argument regarding the interaction between poverty conditions and gender where he states that family income levels affect childhood obesity cases. He states that despite there not being clear evidence why boys are not influenced by parental income, poverty conditions places girls at higher risks of suffering from the condition. He attributes this disparity to the biological difference between boys and girls (Smith, 1999).
Recent research shows that the disparity in incomes of different people, contributes to the difference in risk prevalence of suffering from obesity. Powell states that developing nations especially African countries are at higher risks of suffering from childhood obesity than the already developed countries (Smith, 1999). This is because low income levels characterize families in these countries. This contributes to malnutrition of the children.
He states that, in these countries, children grow up surrounded by unhealthy foods while at home and school. He states that there is a likelihood of some low-income neighbors having fast-food restaurants, which are stocked, with non-nutritious foods. More so, he describes a society characterized by poor conditions where members have limited resources where they cannot afford to buy healthy foods, join health clubs and as well participate in organized sports programs.
Academic knowledge impacts the social elements and setting and institutions of both local and global communities. Academic knowledge equips people with different response measures towards childhood conditions facing many children. Braveman provides a recommendation of dealing with childhood obesity aiming at reducing the prevalence the condition (Braveman, 2009). He states that there should be an increased in consumer knowledge and awareness on the healthy nutrition and physical activities and their implications in dealing with the social concern.
He continues and states that parental knowledge should be fostered to different families to ensure that childhood obesity condition terminates. Academic knowledge has an impact to people living in different geographical and social setting. This is because it equips these people with measures required to deal with the condition and prevent childhood obesity conditions in healthy children (Braveman, 2009).
Communities living in different societies have a difference in their social settings. However, factors leading to childhood obesity are common. This implies that methods established in dealing with the condition in the different communities are common. Academic knowledge available to one society can as well be applied in another society despite the global positioning of the community. As a result, while dealing with childhood obesity, new academic knowledge can be used to deal with the health condition in the different communities. Strategies such as involvement in physical activities and health education rendered to children while at school and in other social centers, gives parents different measures of dealing with the obesity condition facing their children (Smith, 1999).
Active citizenship refers to a philosophy implemented by organizations and societies aiming at dealing with social concern within the society. It advocates the division of roles among people living within the society and as well sharing responsibilities in implementing changes in the society as the team fights the social concern (Braveman, 2009). As in the case of dealing with childhood obesity, active citizenship can be applied by educating people on the different methods used in preventing and dealing with childhood obesity. In schools, engaging students in recreation physical activities remains as another solution towards childhood obesity.
While dealing with the contemporary issues relating to childhood obesity, active citizenship will involve informing the society on the obesity cycles. Informing pregnant women on the effects of their diet trends to their new born can be used as a strategy of dealing with the cases of childhood obesity in the society (Smith, 1999). Active citizenship approaches have taken a different trend within the last few years.
The changing trend links to the changing attitudes and global approach towards diet and physical activities that people engage in during their leisure time. This implies that, within the next few years (five to ten) years, there will be a high and noticeable change in attitudes to the social concern of childhood obesity. Politics of food is active citizenship method that can be used in dealing and responding to the contemporary social issue of childhood obesity. Relating poverty with active citizenship, supporting children from low-income families can be used to deal with cases of obesity among children.
Attainment of this goal in school can be through providing quality school dinners in the school. In addition, ensuring that food offered in schools balances in terms of quantities of calories served and as well minerals can be another measure. Within the next five years, this tool will attain its main goal of dealing with childhood obesity where quality foods will be available to all students in schools regardless of their financial backgrounds.
On the other hand, pregnant mothers and parents will be equipped with the required academic and health education relating to possible causes of childhood obesity. Physical activities in schools and in the society, where children participate in healthy activities aiming at maintaining a balanced calorie level will have a positive impact in the society while dealing with the social concern of childhood obesity in the society (Braveman, 2009).
The article, “Predictors of obesity in childhood adolescence, and adulthood in a birth cohort. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 15(8), 1166–1175.” Written by Rooney, B., Mathiason, M., & Schauberger, is a significant source in this paper. The authors of this article engage the reader through making interesting claims. Claims made in the article are that there are certain characteristics and behaviors which play a critical role in contributing to obesity in offspring and young children. This study uses pregnant women tracked during their pregnant period. Observation of their behaviors and characteristics they displayed during the period up to the 10th and 15th years.
The behaviors were used to investigate the interrelationship that lies between their behaviors and their young children. The authors of this article used nearly 800 pregnant women. This source provides information pertaining behaviors displayed by the pregnant women during the gestation period. The study displayed that maternal obesity, which describes the mother’s obesity condition, is one of the greatest factor that leads to childhood obesity. Survey conducted during 2003 and 2004 across the United States also displayed similar trends in childhood obesity conditions and linked with the maternal behaviors and characteristics.
Authors used charts and tables in displaying characteristics and behavior variables and findings made from the research. This is an online article that describes the interrelationship that lies between the genetic composition and environmental factors that lead to childhood obesity. This is an article that can be used in giving academic knowledge to mothers displaying the obesity condition.
The research contained in this article is crucial in identifying and addressing childhood obesity as a societal issue and not merely a personal issue. It gives an academic analysis on the causes of childhood obesity. It is a relevant article since it equips pregnant women on the link between their behaviors and characteristics with their children. It can be used as a precaution measure article that gives pregnant women different measures of dealing with childhood obesity conditions in their children.
Another relevant article, “A cup of health with cdc: Young and fit. Podcasts at CDC. [Audio podcast].” By Gaynes, R.,can also be used to give relevant academic knowledge relating to the interrelationship between childhood obesity and social factors. These podcasts give a wide variety of downloadable digital media. From this site, different media can be downloaded to multiple mobile devices, desktop computers, or laptops.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have several podcasts on health and wellness topics to provide information. The series Young and Fit on the audio show A Cup of Health with CDC engages listeners in an interview between two doctors on childhood obesity. This podcast addresses early childhood obesity amongst low income families. It gives a clear interrelation that lies between poverty and childhood obesity.
Dr. May, who may be considered an SME, conducts research with CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Dr. May informs the listeners that children’s weights are greatly impacted by their environment to include, day care, home, and other areas throughout the community. Several risks associated with childhood obesity as well as tips for a healthier lifestyle is provided. This podcast provides an insight into the relationship between childhood obesity and low income families. It gives academic knowledge relating to poverty and childhood obesity through the interviewing done in the podcast.
Concluding the research paper, it is quite clear that childhood obesity is a health condition that is dependent on both social conditions facing the victim and as well the diet that the individual consumes. Poverty, as one of the social factor, has a direct interrelationship with childhood obesity through the limiting conditions that it places children from low-income families. Academic knowledge available in articles and podcasts can be used by families faced by childhood obesity condition in responding to the condition.
Braveman P. A health disparities perspective on obesity research. Prev Chronic Dis 2009;6(3)
Ziol-Guest, K. M., G. J. Duncan, and A. Kalil. 2009. "Early Childhood Poverty and Adult Body Mass Index." American Journal of Public Health 99:527-32.
Institute of Medicine (U.S.)., Liverman, C. T., Koplan, J., Kraak, V. I., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2005). Preventing childhood obesity: Health in the balance. Washington, D.C: National Academies Press.
Bagchi, D. (2011). Global perspectives on childhood obesity: Current status, consequences and prevention. London: Academic.
Cameron, N. (2006). Childhood obesity: Contemporary issues. Boca Raton, FL [u.a.: Taylor & Francis.
Smith, J. C. (1999). Understanding childhood obesity. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi.
O'Dea, J. A., & Eriksen, M. P. (2010). Childhood obesity prevention: International research, controversies, and interventions. Oxford U.K: Oxford University Press.