Childhood obesity is on the rise, and along with the obesity comes other problems --- heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Another problem, long thought to be a disorder of older, overweight males, is sleep apnea.
A study published in the June issue of the journal sleep reveals that obese children are as much at risk of developing sleep apnea as obese adults. The risk factor is based on waist circumference and BMI although neck circumference wasn't considered a risk factor. Enlarged tonsils and adenoids, once thought to be the major risk factors, probably take second place to obesity.
According to the American Obesity Association, more than 30% of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight and over 15% are obese. Adolescents age 12 to 19 show similar statistics. Overweight children usually grow into overweight adults.
Causes of childhood obesity
What has caused this trend towards obesity in young people? Two very obvious causes are poor nutrition brought about by fast food franchises and "super-sizing." A second cause is lack of exercise. At one time children spent their spare time playing games and sports or doing chores. Now that time is spent in front of a TV or playing video games. Intake of food has increased, while activity has decreased.
The future of the world depends on our children. Their health is important. Obese children are not happy children. They are often ill, have low self-esteem and may be teased and bullied by their peers. Obesity causes both physical and mental problems. Obesity can cause sleep apnea and this can cause changes in a child's brain, changes that prevent him from learning and retaining what he learns.
Encourage your children to follow good rules of nutrition and to stay active for a happy and healthy future.
Published On: June 04, 2009