For many years childhood obesity has been an issue; however, it appears that with each passing year, the problem is becoming more prevalent. Consequently, health problems typically not seen until adulthood are now being found in children. Such problems include type two diabetes, high cholesterol, and hypertension.
Many children who are obese are not only at risk for additional physical problems but also see an increased likelihood for psychological issues. For example, children who are obese have greater chance of suffering from low self-esteem, negative body image, and depression. Issues relating to these can effect children well into adolescence and their adult lives.
Both adults and children who are obese experience many related physical health problems. For example they have a substantially increased risk for a variety of cancers: gallbladder, breast, pancreatic, endometrial, kidney, colon, thyroid, and more. Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma are also more prominent in the obese population. According to former Surgeon General, Richard Carmona, “because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
Although physical and psychological risks are a large possibility for those who are obese, there are simple ways to prevent such health hazards from occurring. Positive eating habits are crucial for maintaining a happy, well-functioning, and healthy body. On average, a person should have two cups of fruit, two and a half cups of vegetables, 46-56 grams of protein, and six ounces of grain per day.
In addition to practicing good eating habits, physical activity is also necessary to avoid both childhood and adult obesity. Joining team sports and getting involved in athletic programs—or even just going outside and having an hour or more of physical activity everyday—is important to stay fit. Nutritionists and obesity experts indicate that re-enforcement and support from families, communities, and schools is crucial in achieving and maintaining a healthy life style, too.
[Sources: American Heart Association; CDC]