The Growing Danger of Obesity in Children

November 12, 2012

The Growing Danger of Obesity in Children

Homo sapiens is currently the most powerful species on the planet. Humans have been able to generate food surpluses and international trade that perhaps are the envy of other species. Humans have spent millions of years making sure that a plentiful amount of food is within reach of a corner shop. However, this successful food growing, trading and hoarding is taking a toll on the youngest generation. Obesity in children has risen dramatically. In the United States, for example, it’s risen by more than 30% since 1970.

Cut in Life Expectancy

Obesity in children is a huge cause of obesity in adults. According to America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about 30% of obese adults first became obese when they were children. Once children learn bad food habits, these habits can take a lifetime to unlearn. Over 300,000 Americans dies each year from medical complications related to obesity, like Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Obese children may not survive to adulthood. Because their large bodies put such a strain on their immune system, even the common cold can become deadly. Hospital equipment is usually not constructed to handle obese children, so sick obese children may have to be shipped from hospital to hospital before finding one that can accommodate them. Obesity in children can lead to preventable pain, suffering and death

Complications in the Medical Industry

Knee-jerk solutions for obesity in children is to give them gastric bypass surgeries or liposuction. But the heavier the child, the more dangerous even a simple surgical procedure can be. It takes more anesthesia to knock out an obese child than one of normal weight. If the child already has heart problems, this can result in death.

Just finding a vein to insert an IV or give an injection can be a frustrating experience. Because of the large amounts of fat, nurses or phlebotomists may not be able to find accessible veins or take an extremely long time to find a vein. Some ambulances have weight limits and if a child is morbidly obese, he or she may have to wait for a large enough ambulance to accommodate them.

Mental Health Problems

Obesity in children not only affects their physical health but their mental health as well. Obese children are prone to be depressed or suffer from other mental health issues. Obese children may eat to comfort themselves, become bullied by other children or adults and then the children eat to comfort themselves from the humiliation. Obesity in children often causes sleep apnea, which leads to sleep deprivation. This can intensify mental illnesses such as depression.

This can lead to suicide attempts in children, teenagers and young adults. Since the medical community has problems handling the obese, as described earlier, attempts to save an obese person from such suicide attempts as slitting wrists or taking an overdose may be unsuccessful. According to a 2008 study by the University of Liverpool, obese and overweight teenagers think more about committing suicide than children of normal weight.

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