Health Care Agencies
The increase in childhood obesity since the year 2000, together with the associated health problems and costs, is raising grave concern among health care professionals and parents.
Documented trends in children’s obesity examine the possible underlying causes of this global epidemic.
It basically breaks down to “energy intake”, “energy expenditure”, and “energy balance”. Simply, children that consume more calories while expending fewer calories through physical activity, are more likely to be obese than other children. A host of factors contribute to the reduction in energy expenditure, in particular, children today seem less likely to walk to school than they were 20 years ago and finally, children spend more time viewing television and using computers.
The challenge in formulating policies to address children’s obesity is to learn how best to change the environment that affects children’s energy balance. This stresses the importance of teaching them good habits of daily physical activity. By inspiring children, with a reward based system, they will soon become used to and even excited about exercising 20 – 30 minutes a day – and this will make a world of change to the children, their parents, and to society as a whole.
We must also consider the negative impact child obesity is having on the health care system on a whole. Duke University calculated that when multiplying the number of obese 10-year-olds in the United States, lifetime medical costs for this age alone reach roughly $14 billion.