Disparities in Childhood Obesity

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Beauty may be “in the eye of the beholder”, but one thing is for certain that whatever one’s aesthetic attitude toward fat, obesity is hazardous to the health (Shore, PG). Medical conditions associated with obesity include high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and increased risk for some types of cancer (Brant, 92). Further, according to Dr. William Dietz, the director of the division of nutrition and physical activity for the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, there is powerful evidence that adult obesity that began in childhood is much more serious than adult-onset obesity. Research shows eighty percent of obese children become obese adults (Shore, 1999).

Obese children also suffer psycho-emotional problems from their obesity. They are far more likely to meet with peer disapproval, be perceived as incompetent and suffer from academic discrimination and low self-esteem. They are also more likely to be perceived as over-indulged, lazy and responsible for their condition (Shore, 1999). Says Bruce Leonard, a fitness advocate recently retired from the CDC, “In a few decades, we’re going to learn that for the first time in American history, our children lived shorter and less healthful lives than their parents” (Brant, 92).

On October 1st, 2007, I interviewed Dr. Marsha Jamika who is a pediatrician at the Montefiore Medical Center in Marble Hill Bronx. According to Dr. Jamika “It has become obvious that the control of obesity in children is a national concern, especially considering that obesity in children has reached epidemic proportions. She also said that the rate of obese children who come into her office has more than doubled over the past 10 years.

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