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Obesity as a Growing Public Health Problem

About About Obesity. Obesity is a medical condition described as excess body weight in the form of fat. When accumulated, this fat can lead to severe health impairments. We support the definition of obesity as a chronic, relapsing disease. Please see below for our statement on why our scientific committee and policy experts hold this position.

Please also check the links below for further information in four key areas that we have identified to learn more about obesity as a whole.

Economics and Obesity: Causes and Solutions

We offer the only internationally recognised course on obesity management. Read more here. Overweight and Obesity Statistics. Accessed May 12, Brzecka A and Ejma M. Obesity paradox in the course of cerebrovascular disease.

About Obesity

Adv Clin Exp Med ;24 3 McQuillan, Susan. Breaking the Bonds of Food Addiction. The focus shifts from parent to child, adopter to adoptee. Research shows what you end up with may not be what you had in mind.

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Excessive alcohol hurts every part of your body, including your brain. Back Psychology Today. Back Find a Therapist. Back Get Help. Back Magazine. Subscribe Issue Archive. Back Today. Changing Paradigms in International Adoption. Susan McQuillan M. It has been shown that focusing on reducing sedentary behaviour and encouraging free play has been more effective than focusing on forced exercise or reducing food intake in preventing already obese children from gaining more weight [ 65 ].

Recent efforts in preventing obesity include the initiative of using school report cards to make the parents aware of their children's weight problem. Health report cards are believed to aid prevention of obesity. In a study in the Boston area, parents who received health and fitness report cards were almost twice as likely to know or acknowledge that their child was actually overweight than those parents who did not get a report card [ 66 ].

They also were over twice as likely to plan weight-control activities for their overweight children. A summary of prevention and intervention strategies is presented in Table 2. Obesity is a chronic disorder that has multiple causes. Overweight and obesity in childhood have significant impact on both physical and psychological health. In addition, psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children.

Overweight children are more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases in adulthood as compared with those who are lean.

It is believed that both over-consumption of calories and reduced physical activity are mainly involved in childhood obesity. Apparently, primary or secondary prevention could be the key plan for controlling the current epidemic of obesity and these strategies seem to be more effective in children than in adults.

A number of potential effective plans can be implemented to target built environment, physical activity, and diet. These strategies can be initiated at home and in preschool institutions, schools or after-school care services as natural setting for influencing the diet and physical activity and at home and work for adults. Both groups can benefit from an appropriate built environment. However, further research needs to examine the most effective strategies of intervention, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

These strategies should be culture specific, ethnical, and consider the socio-economical aspects of the targeting population. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Multinational Monitoring of trends and determinants in cardiovascular disease. Body Mass Index.

An Epidemic of Childhood Obesity

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis. Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Total Body Water. Fat-Free Mass. United State Department of Agriculture. We would like to thank Claire Vayalumkal for her helpful comments and careful reading of the final manuscript. This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. View archived comments 2.

Childhood obesity, prevalence and prevention. Nutrition Journal 4 Abstract Childhood obesity has reached epidemic levels in developed countries. The prevalence of childhood obesity is in increasing since in developed countries Table 1. In some European countries such as the Scandinavian countries the prevalence of childhood obesity is lower as compared with Mediterranean countries, nonetheless, the proportion of obese children is rising in both cases [ 4 ].

The highest prevalence rates of childhood obesity have been observed in developed countries, however, its prevalence is increasing in developing countries as well. The prevalence of BMI in percentage between 85th and 95th percentile in girls was significantly higher than that in boys In Saudi Arabia, one in every six children aged 6 to 18 years old is obese [ 7 ].

Furthermore, in both developed and developing countries there are proportionately more girls overweight than boys, particularly among adolescent [ 6 , 8 , 9 ]. Table 1 Changes in the prevalence of overweight and obesity in some developed countries. Diet Over the last decades, food has become more affordable to larger numbers of people as the price of food has decreased substantially relative to income and the concept of 'food' has changed from a means of nourishment to a marker of lifestyle and a source of pleasure. Calorie intake although overweight and obesity are mostly assumed to be results of increase in caloric intake, there is not enough supporting evidence for such phenomenon.

Fat intake while for many years it has been claimed that the increase in pediatric obesity has happened because of an increase in high fat intake, contradictory results have been obtained by cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. Physical Activity It has been hypothesized that a steady decline in physical activity among all age groups has heavily contributed to rising rates of obesity all around the world. What age group is the priority for starting prevention? Built Environment The challenge ahead is to identify obesogenic environments and influence them so that healthier choices are more available, easier to access, and widely promoted to a large proportion of the community Table 2.

The neighborhood is a key setting that can be used for intervention.


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It encompasses the walking network footpaths and trails, etc. While increasing the amount of public open space might be difficult within an existing built environment, protecting the loss of such spaces requires strong support within the community. Although the local environment, both school and the wider community, plays an important role in shaping children's physical activity, the smaller scale of the home environment is also very important in relation to shaping children's eating behaviors and physical activity patterns. Surprisingly, we know very little about specific home influences and as a setting, it is difficult to influence because of the total numbers and heterogeneity of homes and the limited options for access [ 56 ].

Economics and Obesity: Causes and Solutions | Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis

Of all aspects of behavior in the home environment, however, television viewing has been researched in greatest detail [ 57 — 59 ]. Table 2 Some interventions strategies that could be considered for prevention of childhood obesity. Walking network a. Footpaths designated safe walking path b. The cycling network a. Roads designated cycling routes b. Recreation facilities providing safe and inexpensive recreation centers II. Enhancing active modes of transport to and from school a. Walking e.

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Cycling c. Public transport III. Ban or restriction on television advertising to children IV. Implementing standards for product formulation. Acknowledgements We would like to thank Claire Vayalumkal for her helpful comments and careful reading of the final manuscript. References Nicklas TA, T. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. International Journal of Obesity.

New England Journal of Medicine. Public Health Nutr. Clinics in Dermatology.