Childhood Obesity: Time to raise an alarm

‘Obesity’ – This is a term that many of us would like to avert as much as we possibly can. What are the causes for this? Who is affected? What are its effects? There are many more questions in our minds. We have addressed some of these questions here. Start with the basic (and yet most important) question – Who is affected by this – Only Adults? Well, that is true, but not completely. Children and teens are also affected by this.

The numbers speak for themselves: 31.8% of all American children are overweight or obese; 16.9% of all children are obese. Adult statistics do not look better either: 35.7% of all grownups who should set an example for their children are also affected by this morbid disease, according to the latest reports offered by the National Center for Health Statistics. 

Earlier, Obesity affected primarily adults, but over the last two decades, this fact has changed phenomenally. In the present day, 15-25% of American children and adolescents are affected by obesity. Childhood obesity tends to affect one’s adulthood and result in health problems resulting from obesity.
Factors such as energy imbalances, poverty, bad social influences or depression are all contributing to the birth of this health condition. And obesity is one of the leading causes of death, worldwide, with special emphasis on the American continent. Nevertheless, lately, the controversial chemical bishpenol A has been also linked to the risk of child obesity development.

The BPA Factor

Bishpenol A or BPA on short is commonly used to produce the cans that foods and drinks (such as milk) are normally stored and sold in. BPA has been proven to play the role of an endocrine disruptor inside the human body, hence affecting normal hormonal activity. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration have already completely restricted the use of BPA in baby bottles and sip cups. Is this measure sufficient or satisfying enough to keep the danger away? On short, no. BPA has not yet been completely banned because there is no current evidence proving exposure to low levels of BPA through diets is harmful.

The most recent studies have shown the fact that children who tested positive for high levels of BPA in their urine are more than twice as likely to become obese, as compared to infants who have recorded lower levels of BPA. In other words, a strong link has been found between child obesity and the presence of BPA inside infants’ bodies. However, there is yet no obvious evidence that can strongly state the fact that BPA triggers obesity, as more studies need to be undergone in the future. In the meanwhile, the threat remains lingering over our head every time we purchase a product contained in a BPS bottle or recipient.

Finally, these recent discoveries come to show that obesity is not only triggered by a series of known factors such as improper dieting and poor exercising habits, but it may also be linked with exposure to harmful chemicals such as BPA. Moreover, around 99% of the BPA exposure is from food, with special emphasis on food or soda cans.

Aluminum and plastic containers should therefore be avoided; even though the price of canned fruits and veggies is seemingly smaller, specialists do recommend the purchase of fresh, non-processed foods. Opting for frozen fruits and vegetables is also an accepted alternative to BPA-affected food.

So we do have sufficient healthy alternatives to turn to, up until these BPS cans get completely banned off the market. For years specialists have recommended ingesting fresh fruits and vegetables and avoiding pre-canned foods. This could be an excellent opportunity to finally listen to their say and cater to our own health a little better. Milk recipients made of BPA have already been banned, and if you are a parent, you also owe it to your small one to constantly monitor your health.

In 2010, the EPA reported that more than one million pounds of BPA are released into the environment on an annual basis. Furthermore, during the same year, a review at Tufts University Medical School stated that BPA may increase the risk of cancer. Special emphasis has also been put on Leukemia and testicular tumors in male rats, according to the WHO’s INFOSAN.

The study has been conducted under the surveillance of US National Toxicology Program. Again, the studies have not been considered to be sufficient proof of potential cancer risks. However, if we come to look at all of the statistics that have been undergone keeping BPS on the radar, we could say the substance is certainly unsuitable for long-term consumption.

Other Factors Leading to Obesity and Effects of Obesity

Health: Obese kids, teens are at risk for Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailments and other health concerns.

Mind: Obese kids are at times, affected psychologically leading to withdrawal from other kids, considering Obesity as a blow to their self-esteem.

Money: With continued increase in rate of Obesity in America, the possible Obesity related ailments will increase significantly. With the increase in ailments, comes the increase in expenditure. The society may not be financially equipped to manage these costs. This directly impacts the Quality of life, and the life expectancy.

Everything said and done, it is time we come together to fight this Goliath. If every state sets a goal to reduce its net BMI by 5%, then we will have a strong ground already. Encourage treatment methods including – Healthy eating habits, exercise, behavioral treatment, weight-loss medication and some extreme cases – a weight-loss surgery.

There are Healthcare providers who are already the frontrunners in this fight against Obesity. With some co-operation and a rock strong will power from all of us, we should be able to tackle Obesity in America with avidness.