15 Sep Obesity
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), “[D]ata from 2015-2016 show that nearly 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) in the United States has obesity.”
Why does that matter, really? Obesity causes all sorts of problems, like high blood pressure and high cholesterol, which put a child at risk for heart disease. Yes heart problems as a kid!!! It also puts a child at higher risk for diabetes, breathing problems, asthma, joint problems, fatty liver disease… a whole bunch of things that you just don’t want!!! And….
Obese children are ten times more likely than their peers to become obese adults, and if so, that obesity is more severe. Obese adults have serious health issues, like those issues mentioned above and also stroke, gallbladder disease, some cancers, osteoarthritis, gout… Many of these are life threatening, and those that aren’t are very painful.
Moreover, many children who are obese are unable to play sports because of the added weight and strain on their joints when they run and jump. Being unable to play sports means more time indoors on tech devices, for example, and less time exercising, which only makes the situation worse.
What causes obesity? Some people just naturally have a faster metabolism (they burn the energy from foods quickly) and process food efficiently (they use their calories and don’t store them). A fast metabolism helps people to have a healthy weight. Some people are born with a fast metabolism, but many are not. Being active and eating a balanced diet (and drinking plenty of water) helps most people stay fit and at a healthy weight.
Some people do have a genetic predisposition to obesity . They may be exercising and eating relatively well but still struggling with their weight. Regardless of your genes and the health of your parents, eating well and exercising is essential to helping you achieve optimal health.
Another important thing to know about childhood obesity is that obese children and teens are often bullied and teased by their peers. This can lead to self esteem problems and mental health issues. If you know someone who is obese, make sure you treat them with respect and kindness just like you would anyone else. (Nobody wishes to be overweight and ridiculed for their appearance.)
(To learn more about, and to calculate, your body mass index—a measurement for determining if you are overweight or obese—click here: https://www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/bmi/calculator.html. However, you will be leaving this site. Make sure you come back!)
Another real risk related to obesity, believe it or not, is malnutrition. To learn more about that read on!
How do you think obesity affects a person’s sense of self?