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Childhood Obesity Essay

1312 words - 6 pages

Susannah Walmsley
Public Speaking
Linda Linn
November 10, 2010
Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that has reached epidemic proportions in many developed countries throughout the world, with America having one of the highest rates of overweight children. The consequences this issue has for the children involved can be serious in a number of aspects of their lives. Not only does this issue affect a child physically, it can also have detrimental effects on a child’s psychological and emotional wellbeing. Childhood obesity also has adverse outcomes for society economically in a number of ways.
The causes of obesity are multi-factorial, however some ...view middle of the document...

Type 2 diabetes, previously considered an adult disease, has increased dramatically in children and adolescents that are overweight and obese. Also known as adult-onset diabetes, the two main causes of this disease are related to an unhealthy lifestyle: lack of physical exercise, and obesity. Unlike type 1 diabetes, type 2 does not generally have a genetic cause. Arthritis is another medical complication that can result from childhood obesity. While most arthritic patients are older, obese children can develop this disorder due to excessive weight and pressure on growing joints and bones. Obesity can also cause asthma as it often affects lung capacity, which can create dangerous and disconcerting asthma attacks. When you're obese, your overall quality of life may be lower, too. You may not be able to perform normal daily activities as well as you'd like. This is an important issue not to be taken lightly.
Not only does childhood obesity, affect the child physically, this medical condition can have terrible psychological and emotional repercussions. In an article in the Journal of American Medicine, Jeffrey Schwimmer claims, Obesity is "one of the most stigmatizing and least socially acceptable conditions in childhood." They feel excluded from a variety of activities and have lower levels of self worth and self esteem. They are generally teased and withdrawn from their peers. In a study taken by the Department of Psychology at the University of Ghent, Belgium this was highlighted. In an exploration into the relationship between obesity and psychosocial adjustment, it reported overweight and obese children to have more negative physical self–perceptions than their non obese peers. They also scored lower on general self–worth (Braet). According to their parents, the obese children of the clinical sample appeared to have more behavior problems. Obese children tend to have low self esteem and poor confidence in social situations. Many will try to avoid gym class out of embarrassment of their appearance. Not attending PE classes resulting in a lack of physical activity and not developing adequate motor skills, leads to children remaining physically inactive later in life and as a consequence a vicious cycle of weight gain begins. While obese children generally have poor body images, this is made worse by the teasing that they tend to endure at school and in other social situations with their peers.
The cost of obesity is high. Those who are obese pay an average 30% more in health costs, and 77% more in medication costs. It requires more foods that are high in “empty” calories to provide energy, and larger meals in general are much more expensive. Not only does this issue affect the individual but, overweight and obesity and their associated health problems have a significant economic impact on the U.S. health care system. Medical costs associated with overweight and obesity may involve direct and indirect costs. Direct medical costs include...

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