The Overview of Childhood Obesity

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Obesity is a current health epidemic that has dreadful consequences for America’s health, particularly among low-income children and adolescents. The rising rate of obesity has reached epidemic proportions and is now one of the most grave public health challenges facing the US. However, underlying causes for this increase are unclear.

This literature studies several of the factors that place low-income children at risk for developing obesity; psychological, environmental, and biological. This investigation will show that none of these particular factors operate in isolation but are torturously intertwined, as suggested the Biopsychosocial model of Disease provided by Psychology. The findings indicated that participant’s weight was most influenced by family lifestyle and school environment factors. More proper education and prevention methods are essential in creating a safer healthcare system that provides maximal quality of life.

The Overview of Childhood Obesity

Obesity is a critical health problem that is increasing worldwide, and in the United States in particular. In the US, the percentage of children and teens affected by obesity has more than tripled since 1970’s ( Irimia R, Gottschling M 2016). According to a survey conducted and published in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association, seven states have self-reported obesity rates surpassing 35%, according to new data from the CDC, up from the comparison in 2012 in which all states were lower than 35% (Bridget Kuehn, MSJ, 2018). Excess weight is not just a matter of physical appearance.

The concerns about the increasing prevalence of obesity are founded in the association between obesity and adverse health outcomes and increased health expenditures. Obesity has been linked to an increased risk of numerous comorbidities, including high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, type 2 diabetes mellitus, coronary heart disease, osteoarthritis, asthma, and gallbladder disease.

An alarming fact of this epidemic is that children are increasingly becoming obese. Data collected from the CDC during the years 2015-2016 show that nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States has obesity ( Irimia R, Gottschling M 2016). Adolescents who are Black or Hispanic or live in poverty are at almost twice the risk for being overweight as non-Hispanic white youth. These children will become more susceptible to a poorer quality of life plagued by various illnesses, low energy and eventually low esteem.

There is a magnitude of factors that lead children to overeat, make innutritious diet choices, and not exercise consistently. Of great concern is that children who are overweight or obese are also more likely to be overweight or obese as adults (Freedman Et Al., 2005; Wang, 2008). Psychology, as a science of human behavior, offers a powerful perspective on the interwoven nature of these factors and can point the way towards the development of successful interventions to halt the march of this epidemic. However, this research has largely ignored the role of rising income. Studies that have examined the role of income on obesity within the United States have been unable to account for the potential endogeneity and reverse causality between income and weight and obesity prevalence.

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