Children & Obesity

Findings in Literature research review

Obesity is a disease when you have too much body fat. Obesity can lead to health problems. If more than 25% of a boy's total weight is fat he is classified as being obese. For a girl it is more than 32%. There are many factors that increase a child's risk of obesity. For example:


Children that regularly consume high-calorie foods, such as fast foods contribute to weight gain. Junk food is foods and drinks with a lot of added sugar; junk food can include foods high in salt or any energy-dense food that doesn't also having some nutritional value (empty calories), such as fiber, vitamins and minerals, or protein.


Kids are more likely to gain weight because they don't burn calories through physical activity this contributes to childhood obesity. It is so important for a child to be active research shows that children should be active every day in as many ways as they can. Children and teenagers should be active at least 60 minutes of the day. Children should also benefit from organized sports or activities at school in order to keep active.


It has been proven that if a child comes from a family of overweight people, the child may be genetically put on excess weight, due to the fact that there might be in a household where high-calorie food is always available and physical activity isn't encouraged.

Psychological factors.

Some children overeat to cope with problems or to deal with emotions, such as stress or boredom.

Socio economic factors. Children from low-income backgrounds are at greater risk of becoming obese, because low-income parents may lack the time and resources to make healthy eating and exercise a priority in their daily lives.

The Effects of childhood obesity is Type 2 diabetes which is especially common in overweight children, Cardiovascular disease, Sleep apnea, Asthma, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, early heart disease, bone problems and skin infections e.g. acne, heat rash etc.

Diabetes is very common in obese children. The symptoms are in children with Type I diabetes; the typical symptoms are well known, including increased urination, increased drinking and weight loss. Type II diabetes is more subtle in children, who are usually overweight and either have mild or no polyuria or polydipsia. Another sign or symptom of Type II diabetes is acanthosis nigricans, which is a black, velvety discoloration to a child's neck and skin folds.

The best person to determine whether or not your child is overweight is your child's doctor. A child can be checked for obesity by checking their average height and weight for their age. Another check is the BMI check, (Body Mass Index). This involves doing a sum with the numbers from weight and height to see if there is a problem. Another test is thee 'skin fold' test. This is when a doctor can measure the thickness of skin over the triceps muscle and over the calf muscle. The sum of these measurements should be around 10-25mm in boys and 16-30mm for girls. More than this could mean that the person is obese.

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic world wide, it is a health issue that over the years is increasing at an alarming rate. I found on some alarming statistics about childhood obesity:

Did You Know That...

Obese children and adolescents have shown an alarming increase in the incidence of type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes.

Many obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure levels, which are risk factors for heart disease.

One of the most severe problems for obese children is sleep apnea (interrupted breathing while sleeping). In some cases this can lead to problems with learning and memory.

Obese children have a high incidence of orthopedic problems, liver disease, and asthma.

Overweight adolescents have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight or obese adults.

Findings in analysed data:

What do you believe are the most common health problems facing children

(Aged 6-12 years) today?

Obesity or being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for diabetes, both in kids and adults. Do you agree with this statement?

Overweight and obesity is a serious, chronic medical condition, which is associated with a wide range of life threatening conditions. What do you think is the main cause of obesity?

Would you prefer your child to be a little underweight or a little overweight?

Do you believe that fast food restaurants promote obesity by offering toys with children's meals?

Do you use food as a reward?

How important is it for schools to offer physical education, extra murals and classes on nutrition?

Rates of obesity in children have risen greatly in many countries around the world, leading some researchers to speak of an 'international epidemic of childhood obesity'. Should schools have a greater role in combating childhood obesity?

During an average day how much time does your child spend watching TV, computer games or playing passive games e.g. Lego?

On an average day how much times does your child spend on physical activities?

Analysing and interpreting findings:

In my survey most of my results were expected because many parents are aware of the health concerns of obesity, and are aware that obesity is becoming more and more common due to many factors namely diet and the lack of physical activity that children do. Many parents believe that fast food outlets are partially to blame as they are promoting obesity by offering toys with children's meals.

I did get results that I did not expect for example 13 parents use food as a reward normally take away, this encourages children to eat more fast food which can lead to obesity. The survey shows that more children spend more time watching TV, playing passive games than being active; I did not expect this result, as it does not fit the data of living a healthy lifestyle. I was also surprised that no parents believe that genetics have an effect on obesity. The research I have conducted proves that if a child comes from a family of overweight people, the child may put on excess weight due to genetics, which can unfortunately lead to obesity. I believe that my results did not match up with the results that I was expecting because in our busy lifestyles it easier to let children stay indoors and take them to fast food outlets, and many people do not know the true implications, and causes of obesity.

My measurements are reliable as I conducted a survey to a variety of parents from different schools, social backgrounds, cultures and different races. The results that were concluded are accurate and true and are represented clearly and accurately in graphs, tables and charts therefore my counts are reliable. My data is reliable as the results from the surveys are true and accurate and the research I have conducted in my literature research review come from very reliable sources.

My results make sense to me, because of the way we life our lives, there is hardly time to think about correct nutrition and physical activity as we all live very busy lives. We don't take obesity seriously, because we are not aware fully of the causes and consequences of this disease.

My results don't fit the pattern when more children spend more time watching TV, playing passive games than being active, I did not expect this result as it does not fit the data of living a healthy lifestyle and fit the literature research review. The literature research review says that genetics, diet, inactivity, psychological factors, socio economical factors are all causes of obesity but my surveys conducted shows that parents believe that only diet and inactivity are the main causes of the obesity this does not fit the pattern. I believe that there is little awareness of obesity and our busy lifestyles are the reasons why the results don't fit the data.

Recommendations regarding corrective eating habits and a lifestyle for children:

Encourage children to become mor involved with recreational sports and school activities.

Refrain from awarding children with sweets or junk food.

Limit how much a child spends watching tv, playing tv games etc.-Possibly one hour a day only.

Encourage children to eat at least 5 servings of fruit and vegetables.

Keep unhealthy, prossed foods to the minimum.

Encourage children to drink water instead of fizzy drinks.

Limit areas in the house where food is allowed.

Use low fat or fat free milk only.

Use leaner meats, fish and poultry.

Ensure that children exersice daily.

Ensure that children eat a low Gi breakfast.

Limit fast foods to once a week only.

Keep serving sizes small.

Recommendation on investigation:

This investigation could be improved if I conducted the survey to children as well as there parents and compared results. I would do a BMI on a sample of children in different age groups, in order to see how many children are overweight. I would survey children without there parent supervisoion so that the children would feel pressured and answer accurately according to their views. If I were going to do this investigation again, I would interview parents with children of all ages not just parents with children between the ages of 6-12 years. I would do this in order to get a varied results and results that match and fit the pattern. I would also interview teenagers to see their view and opinions of obesity and make separate graphs; tables and charts then compare results and see if they fit the pattern and know what is obesity and if they prove the hypothesis.

Conclusions: Children who are inactive and exist predominately on fast foods suffer from nutritional diseases such as obesity which could result in diabetes, this is proven through my survey, my literature research review and my findings of my survey which was collated in the form of graphs, charts etc.

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