Parents, pediatricians and policy makers are concerned about the rising rates of obesity and overweight children. Over the past 15 years, the number of obese children has doubled. This has led to the need to have programs to prevent childhood obesity. This leads to the question what is childhood obesity? Obesity can be defined as a Body Mass Index at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same sex and age. Overweight, on the other hand, can be referred to as a body mass index at or above the 85th percentile for children of the same sex and age. Body mass index is a measuring method used to determine childhood weight and obesity. The body mass index does not measure the child's fat directly, but it is used as a reasonable indicator of body fatness for most children and teens.
Consequences of Childhood Obesity.
The problem of childhood obesity can be seen in terms of the short-term effects and the long term effects. According to Waters et al. (2010), the health risk for the obese children currently cannot be understated. The obese children are more likely to have high blood pressure and cholesterol levels that are high which are the main risk factors for the cardiovascular disease. The obese children also have an increased risk of impaired insulin resistance, glucose tolerance and type 2 diabetes. The children are also more likely to have breathing problems such as asthma and sleep apnea. The children have joint problems and musculoskeletal discomfort. Apart from the problems that affect them in terms of their physical health, the obese children can have a greater risk of psychological and social problems that may include discrimination, poor self-esteem and being stereotyped. These problems can continue until adulthood.
Program to Prevent Childhood Obesity.
Childhood is the best age group that is considered the priority population for intervention strategies because firstly it is very difficult for adults to lose weight.