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Childhood Obesity In America
elo27@cornell.edu
| May 6, 2010
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Today we're tackling a major health topic...an epidemic, one might say: childhood obesity. Childhood obesity, and obesity in general for that matter, is a problem that plagues many parts of the world, and the United States in particular. U.S. childhood obesity rates are continuing to rise, and nearly one third of children between the ages of 10 and 17 are in fact clinically overweight. Among that group, half are classified as obese. And what are we to do in the many real, but extreme cases of childhood obesity? If we're looking for a quick fix, is a surgical option the way to go? Bariatric surgery, which induces weight loss through the removal of parts of the stomach or intestines, is a potential option that's sometimes tossed around, but should only be used as a last resort. There are risks and potential complications associated with this kind of treatment, and putting children through a non-crucial surgical procedure really isn't a good idea while there are other weight option available. In most cases, diet, exercise and lifestyle changes really do work. When is a surgical intervention appropriate? In a recent article from the Lancet, researchers stated that surgery should really only be considered in cases in which a child's body mass index is at 50 or above, or 40 and above with major health risk factors. But the key here is to prevent obesity in the first place - obesity in children, adults, everyone. Being aware of the health implications of what you eat, taking the time to exercise at least a few times a week, and most importantly teaching our kids how to lead healthy lives early on are just a few ways to fight for a decrease in national obesity levels. Obesity isn't an unbeatable problem. It's one that we can fix. We're in charge of what we do with our bodies. We're in control of what we eat and how well we take care of ourselves. We decide how we want to live, and that decision affects our quality of life.
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