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Causes of Child Obesity and Its Health Effects

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It is, indeed disheartening that a large proportion of people the world over is becoming obese. This is a serious socio-economic problem, and it is largely attributed to the modern lifestyle. Although, the majority of parents are really careful in a healthy lifestyle in the present days, the number of children who are obese has surge sharply in the last decades. “In 2013, 42 million infants and young children were obese worldwide, and 70 million young children will be overweight or obese by 2025 if current trends continue”. It is certainly true that, overweight leads to serious health issues in children. There are four primary causes of childhood obesity: Diet: consumption of junk foods, physical inactivity, genetic factors, and stress/ sleep deprivation.

The most significant contributor of the childhood obesity epidemic is the consumption of junk foods especially, sugar, sweets and beverages. Besides, the use of ultra- processed sustenance accessible in the advanced shops that are highly rich in artificial ingredients and less dietary benefits prompts weight gain and diet-related chronic diseases.Today’s Children are expending a high measure of concentrated starches and calorie-rich sustenance in correlation with the children from a couple of decades prior. For instance, as per a study published in pediatric clinics in 2013, 14.6 percent of the calorie intake in children less than 2 years originates from the foods with added sugar especially soda and juices. Along with, the foods such as deep-fried meals, and other processed foods that are rich in trans-fatty acids, that will affect the health badly and thus leads to weight gain. The American heart association recommends that the replacement of saturated and trans fatty acids in diet with monosaturated and polysaturated fats helps to reduce the weight gain to some extent.

Furthermore, the size and quantity of the food are relatively larger in the present day. The children are unaware of the amount of the food taken by them in each meal. Mainly from the restaurants and fast food centers they are providing large-sized calorie meals in one order and thus increases the energy intake more than they needed. Today’s changed familial condition the two guardians are working experts and they have less time to plan sustenance in-home and lack of parental guidance in diet results in unhealthy dietary patterns and obesity in children.

The second key category of weight gain in children is physical inactivity mainly by the excessive use of electronic gadgets such as television, internet, video games and the advertisements about junk foods. Youngsters are inactive for sitting in front of television subsequently, they don’t need to make open-air diversions, sports or even taking a walk. Watching television causing obesity not only by displacing physical activities but also through incessant food advertising. The advertisements on television make the children more attracted to lousy nourishments particularly sugar sustenance and beverages. According to CDC (Centre for disease control), only 11% of the girls and 24% of the boys between the age of 11-16 are physically active at least 1 hour in a day and only 30% of children are attending the physical education classes in schools. Thus, the energy inputs from the calories are greater than outputs and it prompts genuine medical problems.

Moreover, in the same way as other ailments, obesity is the aftereffect of transmission among natural and hereditary factors from the parents to their children. Hereditary factors especially some genes from parents leads to weight gain in offspring. For example, the twin studies reveal that identical twins are more prone to become obese than non-identical twins along with, children who belongs to obese family are higher chances to become the obese and develop health complications in future. On the basis of genetics, some people have a slow metabolism and that makes them fatty. The same genes that control metabolism and also control the appetite. This gene is responsible for hormones and receptors that are accountable for how much a person eats by transmitting the information to the brain that the person is full and stop eating. If there is any problem with this genetic pattern that makes hormonal imbalance and that increases the appetite and makes the children obese.

Even though genetic predisposition is a leading factor to obesity, changes in lifestyle help to reduce obesity to some extent. In detail, the proper exercise, healthy dietary pattern and self-control over the fast foods help an individual overcome the consequences related to weight gain. Genetics plays an important role in body mass index but proper diet and physical activity help individuals to lose weight and become healthy.

Sleep deprivation has a direct correlation with weight gain and it influences the well-being of children. Lack of sleep alters hormonal metabolism and it promotes weight gain in children. Persons with shorter sleep time to a significantly greater prevalence of obesity and also have increased levels of the hormone’s ghrelin and decreased level of the hormone leptin. Ghrelin is the hunger hormone because that stimulates appetite, increases food intake and promotes fat storage and also stimulates the release of growth hormone from the pituitary gland and causes the build-up of muscles. Leptin is a hormone, made by fat cells, that decreases the appetite. Furthermore, an increased level of cortisol hormone which may also contribute to conservative weight gain. From this, it is clear that sleep can affect the weight. So, maintaining adequate sleep duration and sleep quality is important to maintaining a healthy weight.

Apart from this, increased stress rate also leads to obesity. High-stress level activity negatively affects mental health and prompt to anger anxiety and depression. That affects their sleep pattern, activity level and overall performance of an individual and thus end in stress-related weight gain in children. The alteration in sleep patterns because of stress tends to hormonal changes and stimulate food intake and ultimately increase the risk of obesity and metabolic diseases.

The facts confirm that obesity is becoming a sensitive issue in the entire world.The consequences of obesity are serious health concern worldwide. Besides, the primary causes for obesity are the changes in diet, physical inactivity, hereditary factors and, stress or sleep deprivation. Consequently, my exploration theme on weight gain in children assumes a pivotal role in current medical problems. Thus, the parents should be cautious enough to foresee the harms and have to be proactive.


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  2. Wolfenden et al. (2016). A randomized controlled trial of multiple periods of outdoor free-play to increase moderate-to-vigorous physical activity among 3-6 among 3-6-year-old children attending childcare: study protocol Public Health, 16(1), 1-6. doi:10.1186/s1289.
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