Childhood Obesity Essay

Submitted By mveluss
Words: 847
Pages: 4

Childhood Obesity Demographic


January 27, 2013

Childhood Obesity Demographic

Childhood obesity is a public health problem that has become increasingly more serious in the United States. Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child's health or wellbeing. A person is considered overweight if he or she has a body mass index (BMI) greater than 25 kg/m2; a BMI of greater than 30 kg/m2 is considered obese. This growing overweight trend has been seen more and more among children and adolescents between the ages of 2 to 19 years old in the US population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over the past three decades the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled. Sixteen percent (9 million) of children were overweight or obese 1999-2002. Obese or overweight children have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults. That risk climbs even higher to 80 percent if one or more parent is overweight or obese. Being overweight or obese increases the risk factor for various diseases and health conditions of both physical and emotional. The most commonly known diseases or conditions that obesity can lead to are: high blood pressure, high cholesterol or high triglycerides, osteoarthritis, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, as well as some cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon). Obesity in children has also been associated with depression stemming from criticism within school by peers as well as by family members within the home. If intervention and preventative measures are not aggressively put into place, it is predicted that adolescent obesity could potentially be responsible for up to 1.5 million life-years lost in the United States, with total costs of $254 billion when lost productivity and medical costs are taken into account. Its financial impact could stagger the health care market. Children treated for obesity are estimated to be three times more expensive for the healthcare system than the average insured child. Overweight/obese children can extend into adult overweight/obese individuals leading to a negative impact on general public from higher public and private health insurance costs, diminished employee productivity, decrease in public revenue, reduction in the quality of life, and minimizing longevity. Health insurance expenditures for treating obesity-related diagnoses estimates of about $75 billion with almost half of the costs financed by Medicare and Medicaid. The increase in this epidemic will inevitably require investment of economic stimulus moneys for obesity preventions measures to create short-term economic effect, while doing what is necessary health-wise to protect society from the greatest threat to long-term well-being. Childhood obesity threatens the economic and fiscal health of the nation. Two key health care-related challenges to childhood obesity are high costs of hospitalization and increased costs of medications and durable medical equipment. Children with obesity experience greater rates of hospitalization and increase usage in physician services for both privately insured and publicly insured groups. The majority of this category of inpatient admits are from obese children on Medicaid. Children receiving Medicaid are less likely to visit a physician and more likely to enter the hospital than comparable children with private insurance. This lack of initiative by parents or caregivers of obese children causes children to miss out on appropriate treatment,