Obesity is the condition of being fat or grossly overweight: there is a definite problem of obesity among children. Obesity is a medical condition in which excess body fat has accumulated to the extent that it may have a negative effect on health. Obesity increases the overall likelihood of many diseases and conditions, particularly type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, certain types of cancer, obstructive sleep apnea, depression and osteoarthritis. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive food intake, genetic susceptibility and lack of physical activity. There are other causes associated with genes, mental disorders, medication, and endocrine disorders. Obesity is mostly preventable with a combination of personal choices and social changes. Diet and exercise play a major part in the main treatments.
Image courtesy of: Ed Yourdon
“One in five American children and teenagers aged 6-19 years is obese. Obesity in childhood is associated with an increased risk of several disorders, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, as well as premature death, in adulthood.
Identifying risk factors for the prevention of childhood obesity has become a public health priority. While the role of genetics in obesity is widely recognized, a rapid increase in obesity in recent years is more likely to be due to lifestyle changes.
Previous studies have shown that children's lifestyle choices are largely influenced by their mothers, however, it is unknown whether healthy lifestyle patterns in mothers during their offspring's childhood and adolescence influence the development of obesity.
So an international team based in Canada and the USA set out to investigate whether mother and child lifestyle factors have an effect on the risk of childhood obesity.
They examined medical history and lifestyle characteristics of 24,289 children aged 9-14 years who were born to 16,945 women in two US studies, the Nurses' Health Study II (NHSII) and Growing Up Today Study (GUTS).
Participants completed detailed questionnaires about their medical history and lifestyle, including body mass index (BMI), physical activity levels and diet. Mothers were also asked about their alcohol intake and smoking history.
Based on this information, the researchers calculated the risk of obesity for each child, using BMI measurements.
Generally, a BMI between 18.5 and 24.9 indicates a healthy weight. Below 18.5 is in the underweight range, between 25 and 29.9 is in the overweight range, and between 30 and 39.9 is in the obese range.”
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