'Overweight' is the term used to describe an individual who has excess body weight for that person's height, including the combination of fat, muscle, bone and water, whereas the term 'obesity' describes an individual who has excess body fat. Either state can be caused by a "caloric imbalance," which implies that the calories consumed are not exhausted. However, a person's body mass can also be affected by genetic and environmental factors.
Unfortunately, the obesity rate is painfully high in the United States and the number is steadily rising. Approximately 33% of American adolescents are considered to be obese. This includes 43 million preschool children that were considered to be obese in 2010. This statistic suggests that the number of overweight adolescents has quadrupled within the past 30 years! Can you believe it?! Researchers predict the number of obese children to continue to climb to 60 million by 2020 if preventative actions are not taken. So, let's start right now!
Uh-oh...If a child becomes obese, there are a multitude of immediate and long-term effects on his or her health. He or she are more likely to develop cardiovascular disease due to high cholesterol or high blood pressure. Obese youth are also more likely to become a victim of pre-diabetes, due to their blood glucose levels. Children who are obese are at a higher risk for complications with their bones and joints and sleep apnea, as well as psychological issues. As the child enters adulthood, the individual may be susceptible to heart disease and various other types of cancer, type 2 diabetes and osteoarthritis. He or she will also be more likely to experience a stroke. The sooner the child develops healthy eating and living habits, the healthier they will be for the rest of their life!