Between five to twenty five percent of children and teenagers in the United States are obese. As with adults, the popularity of obesity in the young varies by ethnic group. It is estimated that five to seven percent of Caucasian and African American children are obese, while twelve percent of Hispanic boys and nineteen percent of Hispanic girls are obese. Some data indicates that obesity among children is on the increase rate. The second National Children and Youth Fitness Study found six to nine year olds to have thicker skin folds than their counterparts in the 1960s. During the same period, others documented a fifty four percent increase in the prevalence of obesity among six to eleven year olds.
Defining Obesity in Children and Adolescents
Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of body fat. Obesity is present when your total body weight is more than twenty five percent fats in boys and more than thirty five percent fats in girls. Although childhood obesity is often defined as a weight-for-height in excess of one hundred twenty percent of the ideal, skin fold measures are more accurate determinants of fatness.
A trained technician may obtain skin fold measures relatively easily in either a school or in a clinical setting. The triceps alone, triceps and sub scapular, triceps and calf, and calf alone have been used with children and adolescents. When the triceps and calf are used, a sum of skin folds of ten to twenty five millimeters is considered optimal for boys, and sixteen to thirty millimeters is optimal for girls.
The Problem of Obesity Not all obese infants become obese children, and not all obese children become obese adults. However, the commonness of obesity increases with age among both males and females, and there is a greater likelihood that obesity beginning even in early childhood will continue through the life span.
Obesity presents numerous problems for the child. In addition to increasing the risk of obesity in adulthood, childhood obesity is the leading cause of pediatric hypertension, is associated with Type two diabetes mellitus, increases the risk of coronary heart disease, increases stress on the weight-bearing joints, lowers self-esteem, and affects relationships with peers. Some authorities feel that social and mental problems are the most significant consequences of obesity in children.
Risks of being overweight and obese
There are many risks of being overweight and obese, some of them being extremely serious. If you are overweight/obese, you may be at risk of getting diabetes. Diabetes is a sickness that has to do with the sugar in your body. You can have diabetes if you have too little or too much sugar in your body. Not all of this sugar can be from candy and other sweets. A lot of the time you receive diabetes because your body is not producing enough sugar. Food such as apples and strawberries have natural sweeteners that a lot of the time people refer to as "sugar." This type of sweetener is very good for your body, unlike artificial sweeteners. An artificial sweetener is a substance that is sweet and is man made. Artificial sugars can be fond in almost every type of candy. If you looked in your refrigerator, pantry, or snack cabinet, you would find artificial sweeteners. If your body does not receive enough natural sugars, you may get diabetes. That is why we encourage you to eat your fruits and vegetables to stay healthy the rest of your life!