This essay "Obesity in School-Age Children" describes the impact of the obesity on the children's health and proposes possible solutions. While other types of physical conditions may be easier for children to hide under their clothing or to mask in various ways, obesity is impossible to hide under clothing and too often leads to them being teased or otherwise tormented by cruel jokes by their misunderstanding schoolmates. The disapproving stares and negative looks from other adults and children greet them every time they meet another set of eyes. This often unconscious response on the part of other people can contribute to severe emotional damage that often lasts a lifetime. Even when the excess weight is lost, these psychological scars can drastically impact the child’s ability to achieve the level of fulfillment and happiness that should be every child’s right. It is widely acknowledged that obesity can significantly lower life expectancy despite the person’s age. With obesity now accepted as being at pandemic proportions, it is of supreme importance to identify the common causes of obesity as well as the most effective methods of treating it to help children overcome the social and personal drawbacks of being overweight.
One of the most disturbing features of obesity is its close association with more than 30 adverse health conditions and countless psychological ramifications. Increasingly, younger persons are starting to experience arthritis of the hips, back, hands and knees as a result of the long-term misuse their bodily systems must endure.
The possibility of breast cancer is doubled for people who are obese as compared to people who maintain a somewhat stable weight as an adult or ‘normal’ weight as a child. Other cancers such as esophageal, gastric, endometrial and colorectal cancers are also much more common among the obese, even those at younger ages. It seems pointless to list the elevated risk of cardiovascular disease because of obesities direct correlation with higher levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream which blocks arteries of the heart (“Health Effects”, 2002). This problem is aggravated in obese persons due to their veins being more constricted. This has the effect of impeding oxygen transmission to bodily tissues and provoking complaints of sleepiness, general fatigue and breathing problems. Predictably, all of these side effects and other associated risks of obesity or just being overweight have a negative impact on a child’s rate of growth and their general ability to develop. “Even for children, obesity can increase the risk of stroke and hypertension, a statistic supported by the fact that more than 75 percent of people who suffer from hypertension are obese” (Health Effects, 2002). Obesity Statistics (2007) indicates that 25 percent of children classified as overweight are already showing indications of diabetes and as many as 60 percent show at least one risk factor for developing heart disease. Most people don’t know that obesity is the leading cause of pancreatitis, gallbladder and liver disease (alcohol abuse is second). Obese children are also more susceptible to pneumonia infection. (Health Effects,