The Influences and Effects of Pediatric Obesity Throughout the Life Cycle
Obesity affects about 12.7 million children; a number which continues to increase. Pediatric obesity is defined as a BMI (body mass index) greater than or equal to the age- and sex-specific 95th percentile. Some influences of pediatric obesity include socioeconomic status, physical activity, parental influences, and advertising. The amount of money and resources a family has may dictate the quantity and quality of food that they consume. This leads to disrupted eating patterns and the likelihood of consuming high caloric foods. Also, parents have a large impact on children as an overweight teen with at least one obese parent has greater than an 80 percent chance of being an obese adult. Effects of prolonged pediatric obesity include coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and hypertension. These issues can lay the foundation for other health issues such as metabolic syndrome. Finally, remedies or preventive measures of participation in the WIC program, adherence to the dietary recommendations and guidelines outlined by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and increased physical activity are reviewed. In the WIC program, low income households are able to receive foods that help them consume a balanced diet and reduce weight and health complications. Further research is needed to see what are the long term effects of children who undergo bariatric surgery and how likely it is that they regain or maintain a healthy weight throughout the life cycle. All in all, it takes individuals, families, and health care professionals working very closely together.