Obesity factors to know

 

Obesity in children is an issue that has recently come to light as health experts begin to gather information on the epidemic.  At this time physicians are learning more about the problem and its causes, however there are some factors that are already known.  These obesity factors have been found to increase a child’s risk of becoming obese.
                As we know, obesity in children often leads to obesity in adulthood.  That’s why it’s so important that we tackle to problem early and obtain as much information as possible.  As a teacher it’s your job to prepare your students for the future, to arm them with information to help them make the most of life.  One of life’s most important lessons that you can teach them is the factors of obesity and what they can do to protect their health from it.

Factors that Influence Obesity

Diet/Nutrition
This is one of the biggest factors in a child’s health and weight.  Educating children on the different food groups, healthy portions and nutritional values like saturated fat and protein will help them make better diet decisions.
Activity Level
                One of the changes that researchers and physicians have noted among children that is leading to the rise in obesity is their activity level.  Less children are getting the physical activity they need and more children are spending more time on sedentary activities which aren’t physical and have no health benefits.  So teach your kids about the benefits of physical activity.  Make sure to point out physical activity doesn’t have to be “exercise” and can be fun.  Help them organize games on the playground and see what you can do in your school to increase their physical education opportunities.
Income level of Family
                A family’s income level has been correlated with overweight and obesity problems in children.  Low income households, those at 200% below the poverty level, have a greater chance of obesity than higher income households, those at 200% above the poverty level.  For the low-income households the overweight and obesity rate was 38% as opposed to 26% in high income households.
Heritage
                It’s not to be mistaken that children of every ethnicity are affected and can experience problems with obesity.  However, research has shown that children of African American, Hispanic and Native American heritage are more likely to be overweight or obese than Caucasian children.  For children that are 10-17 years of age it was found that 41% African American children were overweight or obese, 38% of Hispanic children were overweight or obese and 27% of Caucasian children were overweight or obese.
Region Lived In
                The highest levels of childhood obesity are by far concentrated in the Southern region of the U.S.  In the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s KIDS COUNT Data Center study the nine states that scored in the highest level of overweight and obese children at 33.75-38% are;  Delaware, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky and West Virginia.
Sex
                Gender has been shown to have an effect on obesity in childhood.  A study published in 2002 by Acta Paediactrica found that on a whole obesity in children is rising but for girls it’s significantly more apparent.  From 1982 to 2002 boys and girls at the ages of 4, 10 and 16 participated in the study.  At 10 years of age BMI increased by 13.3% in girls compared to 5.1% increase for boys
Genetics
Like many other issues with our health, obesity is closely linked to genetics.  If a parent is overweight then the child has a greater chance of becoming overweight as well.