Do Obese Children View Themselves Unrealistically?

Child Obesity Facts:

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors.3 Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.
  • Overweight and obesity are the result of “caloric imbalance”—too few calories expended for the amount of calories consumed—and are affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors.

Immediate health effects:

  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Long-term health effects:

  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults  and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.   One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
  • Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The obesity epidemic continues to escalate, with close to one-third of the adult U.S. population dealing with weight issues. For many children, the issue is also astronomical. In the past 30 years, it’s estimated that the number of obese children has doubled, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Yet a recent government survey found that many children who are overweight or obese do not even know it. In order to better treat weight-related health issues, researchers hope to help children with weight issues first acknowledge this problem.

Researchers found that overall, 30 percent of children and teens grouped themselves in the wrong weight status. Furthermore, close to 81 percent of overweight boys and 71 percent of overweight girls said that their weights fit in the normal category for their age and height. Another 48 percent of obese boys and 36 percent of obese girls thought that their weights were normal.

“When overweight kids underestimate their weight, they are less likely to take steps to reduce their weight or do additional things to control their weight, like adopt healthier eating habits or exercise regularly,” said lead study author of the report, Neda Sarafrazi, a nutritional epidemiologist at NCHS, via USA Today. “On the other hand, when normal weight or underweight kids overestimate their weight, they might have unhealthy weight-control behaviors.”

Researchers found that some obese children even believed that they were underweight; a misconception that was more common in children of non-Hispanic black and Mexican-American boys and children from low-income families.

Overall, the study’s findings suggest that there may not be proper education about fitness, diet and proper weight at educational institutions throughout the country. With the survey results, researchers said they hope to prompt further investigation and possible restructuring of such topics.

More information regarding the findings can be seen via the study “Perception of Weight Status in U.S. Children and Adolescents Aged 8-15 Years, 2005-2012.”

article source: http://www.scienceworldreport.com/articles/16203/20140723/how-do-obese-children-really-see-themselves-survey-reveals-unrealistic-image-of-health.htm
photo source: Flikr

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