Obesity is one of the major public health issues that affect many societies today. Reducing the prevalence of obesity is one of the objectives of America’s Healthy people 2020 initiative as this has been determined to be a significant cause of many health issues in the society. While obesity affects all demographics, there has been a significant increase in the prevalence of this public health issue among children. Many children are emerging with Body Mass Index (BMI) that are above the 95th percentile, which is an indication of a higher risk of many lifestyle-related illnesses (Hoelscher et al., 2015). Children are part of the vulnerable members of the population; hence, a lot of strategies need to be put in place to ensure that they are protected from public health issues by their guardians and other people responsible in their lives. This project aims at evaluating the problem of childhood obesity in America, its extent, impact, and possible solution.
Childhood Obesity in America
The rate of childhood obesity has increased significantly during the past few decades. America has one of the highest rates of childhood obesity in the world, a figure that has tripled over the past three decades (Karnik & Kanekar, 2012). One out of every six children in the United States is obese while one out of every three is overweight. The rate of overall obesity in children has been steady since 2008, but there have been significant changes within different demographic groups. Some groups have a higher rate compared to others. Among socio-economic groups, the high income earning groups including families living 400% above the poverty level have the lowest rate of childhood obesity with 11.9% (Ogden et al., 2012). The groups living under the poverty rate has the highest rate of 21%. In terms of racial/ethnic characteristics, the Asian, non-Hispanic population has the lowest rate of obesity with a 9.8% rate (Ogden et al., 2012). Hispanics have the highest rate at 23.6% followed by the blacks at 20.7% and whites at 14.7% (Ogden et al., 2012). Although at different rates, all population groups in the U.S. have a significantly high risk of childhood obesity, which makes this a major public health issue in the country.
Impact of Childhood Obesity
The most significant impact of childhood obesity is the numerous health risks that it exposes children to. Obese children have a higher risk of being affected by the following health issues. The risk of Type 2 Diabetes is increased significantly when a child is overweight (Sahoo et al., 2015). They are exposed to cardiovascular problems such as heart disease and stroke (Ayer et al. 2015). They may develop issues with their respiratory systems such as sleep apnea and asthma. Obesity is also associated with musculoskeletal discomfort and joint issues.
Aside from the health issues, obesity is also associated with psychological, social, and emotional issues in children. Children may develop low self-esteem as a result of their bigger body type, which is generally perceived as less desirable in the society today (Sabin & Kiess, 2015). They may also experience bullying and issues in the social environment. These issues lead to problems such as depression and anxiety at a young age, problems which are sometimes maintained until adulthood (Pulgaron, 2013).
The significance of the Problem
Childhood obesity has been established to be a serious problem for children. Studying this topic has positive implications because it helps to determine the extent of the issue in America, establish the patterns of the problem between groups, and the causes of the patterns. Therefore, this topic is important because it helps to develop strategies for dealing with this issues and helping to improve the health of many children in America. This can be helpful for both public health professionals and parents in dealing with the major issue of obesity that continues to affect a large percentage of children.
Proposed Solution for Childhood Obesity
The proposed solution for reducing childhood obesity is exercising more government control over the fast foods and snacks industry. One of the main cause of childhood obesity is the quality of food that children have access to (Roberto et al., 2015). Fast foods and most of the snacks on the market today supply children with the excess sugars and fats, which cause their weight issues. Control over this market will reduce access to these products for the children. The best control for this market is an increase in taxes for companies in the industry so that their products can be more expensive, and hence, less accessible to people in the market. When fewer people can access unhealthy foods then there will be a reduction in the rate of obesity.
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