Child Obesity – What Factors Result In A Child Being Obese?

Obesity is a hot topic these days as obesity rates in the West continue to rise at an alarming rate and obesity is now commonly being seen in children. It is no surprise therefore that a great deal of research is being channeled into the problem of child obesity in an effort to find both its cause and a cure.

As obesity rates continue to rise in the West it’s perhaps no surprise that we are seeing more and more overweight children. But just what causes child obesity?

As is often the case that there is no single cause of childhood obesity and there are a number of different factors, often working in combination, which account for obesity in children.

It is often the case that a child whose parents are overweight or obese will also be overweight or obese and this suggests that there may be some genetic or inherited component to obesity. Although this is an area which is actively being studied, no clear genetic link has yet been established and it is felt far more likely that it is diet and eating habits within the family that result in obesity rather than genetics.

We have seen a considerable shift in eating habits over recent years with fast food restaurants springing up on every corner, junk food widely available and the shelves of our supermarkets lined with so-called ‘convenience’ foods which are often very high in sugar. The days of home cooked meals are long gone in many households, to be replaced by take-away food or microwave meals and many parents are also choosing to take their children out to eat rather than to prepare and clear meals at home.

We have also seen a dramatic drop in activity levels amongst many groups of children, fuelled in no small measure by the advent of home computers, video games and now the ever present mobile phone. As activity levels have dropped so children have lost their natural ability to burn off the calories gained from eating.

Television, the internet, magazines and other forms of media also play a role as these play an increasing part in the lives of our kids and fast food, junk food and confectionary manufacturers are not slow in jumping onto this particular bandwagon and making full use of the advertising opportunity that the media provides.

There are also clearly many psychological factors at play in our modern world and many children today will simply eat if they are bored. They will also turn to food if they find themselves under stress, angry, anxious or depressed.

Today a great deal of research is being aimed at the problem of child obesity and much of this is focused on solving the problem through diet and exercise once presented with an obese child. However, with obesity continuing to rise at such am alarming rate, perhaps the time has come to attack the roots of the problem to stop our children becoming obese in the first place.

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