Childhood obesity is a major problem in the UK, as it is in much of the developing world. The most recent figures published in December 2009 show that 22.8% of reception children and 32.6% of year 6 children are either overweight or obese.
However shocking these numbers may be, the very fact that we have this data is a good start in our fight against childhood obesity. British school children are regularly weighed and measured and the results sent to their parents along with advice on diet and exercise. This government funded initiative has proved moderately successful, with the rapid rise in childhood obesity beginning to level off.
This article on childhood obesity is by Kathryn Senior, a freelance journalist who writes health, medical, biological, and pharmaceutical articles for national and international journals, newsletters and web sites.
What causes childhood obesity?
In the vast majority of cases, childhood obesity is not so much a disease as a social issue. In rare instances, however, there may be a glandular problem, or other underlying medical condition, which leads to excessive weight gain.
Most childhood obesity, however, is caused by the simply problem of eating too much and exercising too little. As children ‘play out’ less and spend more time indoors, watching TV or playing computer games, their energy intake will naturally pass their energy requirement and they will gain weight. What’s more, children who spend their time on indoor pursuits are more likely to snack while doing it, as the food sources are readily available.