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Mph 599 - Childhood Overweight - Obesity

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Childhood overweight/obesity

Trident International University

MPH 599; Case Assignment 1

June 15, 2011

Problem: Childhood obesity continues to rise. Are present strategies preventing and assuring children are healthy weights?

We may be raising the first generation of children that is sicker and dies younger than their parents.

An estimated 22 million children under five are estimated to be overweight worldwide. According to the US Surgeon General, in the USA the number of overweight children has doubled and the number of overweight adolescents has trebled since 1980. The prevalence of obese children aged 6-to-11 years has more than doubled since the 1960s. Obesity prevalence in youths aged 12-17 has increased dramatically from 5 percent to 13 percent in boys and from 5 percent to 9 percent in girls between 1966-70 and 1988-91 in the USA. The problem is global and increasingly extends into the developing world; for example, in Thailand the prevalence of obesity in 5-to-12 year olds children rose from 12.2 percent to 15-6 percent in just two years. (WHO)

Being overweight increases your risk for many health conditions and diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, and even some cancers. Obesity health care cost is a staggering 2-6 percent in several developed countries; there are estimates as high as 7 percent.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey there are many reasons why obesity is so prevalent today which include behavioral reasons, environmental reasons, and genetic reasons.(CDC) In the past 20 years, the environment and people's behavior has drastically changed, causing this jump in obesity. Fast food restaurants, soft drinks, and pre-packaged foods are much more readily available than they were 20 years ago. Grocery stores also have more foods than before. What are doing to make sure children are healthy weights?

The following is a list of some strategies:

* Educating the public about healthy nutrition and exercise is essential

* Healthy policies for school foods

* Reinstitution of physical activity in curriculums is also important

* Better food product labeling

* Infrastructure changes, such as investment in building safe sites like parks, walkways and bike paths to promote activity




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