This Article is About
obesity in teens
american adults
lack of sleep
risk of obesity
obese children
excess weight
serious health
Obese Kids And The Future Of America: It Is Going To Take A Medical Village
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Obese Kids And the Future Of America: It is Going to Take A Medical Village

The saying goes “it takes a village to raise a child”. That saying may be slightly changed in the coming years as the care of obese children becomes more of a focus in the medical community and society at large. Christine Calamaro, Ph.D, CRNP, an Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland School of Nursing has said that more than ever, the mental health of obese kids needs to be one of the primary focuses of all research.

According to the National Institute of Health, the number of obese children has increased dramatically in the last forty years, with nearly twenty percent of children ages 2-19 now falling in that category. Right now, 34% of American adults are obese, however, if there is not an immediate change, the projected number could be as high as fifty percent by the year 2043.

As Calamaro has pointed out, the excess weight in children and teens is not just about the number on the scales, it is about the increase in a number of serious health conditions and the increase in teens who are depressed. She points out that there is no easy answer to point out exactly what makes an adult become obese but that it is even more complicated to find any real answers for the teens.

One study has pointed out that a lack of sleep or a poor quality of sleep can greatly increase the risk of obesity as it decreases both physical and mental health. But, in a secondary study, Calamaro herself pointed out that teens, ages 12-18 were no more likely to be obese when they slept six hours or less than those of the same age group that slept more. Most experts agree that 7-10 hours of sleep are considered optimal with less than 7 being considered sleep deprived.

But, sleep is not the only problem that could be linked to increasing the risk of obesity in teens. There has been a bigger link established between obesity, sleep and depression among teenagers. In one such study, it was found that depressed adolescents tended to sleep less in several age categories and that those teens were almost twice as likely to be obese as well.

Childhood and teen obesity has also been linked to television, an announcement that did not shock anyone. Teens who watch two hours or more of television are almost forty percent more likely to be obese than those who watch less. The increased tv time teens were also more likely to be larger as their watching hours increased.

The NIH has recently approved over $72 million in funding for research to look at the many factors that contribute to childhood obesity, including the increased consumption of higher calorie foods and the lack of physical activity both during and after school. But, researchers like Calamaro warn that other factors like depression and hormones should be studied along with these other factors as well.


Street Talk

The rate at which obesity is increasing in children is mind-boggling. I am 53 years old. When I was a kid in Wisconsin, it was strange to have more than a couple overweight kids in a graduating class. Soon it is going to be rare to find the fit individual. Great article.

Reply
  about 5 years ago
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