# Obesity in children

Gold Member
Is child hood obesity a problem? all the kids i know are slim and active.

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Borek
Mentor
Stats show it is becoming a problem. A friend of mine is a PE teacher in Warsaw school and she says kids are fatter and less active than they were 30 years ago when she started.

gleem
I think I has been for some time. A hospital I know in a major metropolitan area set up an adolescent obesity clinic more than twenty years ago.

See http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

Gold Member
I went to school with my GF to pick up her grandson, i only noticed one big kid, i say big because he was taller than all the rest but all so heavily built.
I do not know how old all the kids were but her grandson is six.i guess obesity starts after this age.

UK children becoming obese at younger ages
http://www.bbc.com/news/health-32797769

Prof Hardy said: "Our work shows this coincided with the onset of an obesogenic environment in the 1980s, where there was easy access to high-calorie food.

"The onset of obesity has been getting earlier and earlier and this does have implications if people are not losing that weight.

"Being overweight over a lifetime means you accumulate risks for things like heart disease and diabetes."

"...an obesogenic environment..." What a term.

Gold Member
What are your personal observations, do you see these kids in every day life?

What are your personal observations, do you see these kids in every day life?
Well, I don't live in the UK, but obesity in kids has been a visually apparent problem in the US for a long time. Here in San Diego I see a large percentage of very overweight kids every day, yes.

This is widely considered a significant problem in North Carolina.

Observationally, anecdotally, it is clearly noticeable in Durham. It is _starkly_ noticeable in the less affluent neighborhoods.

diogenesNY

It's a huge problem, especially among lower income communities.

Gold Member
I wouldn't say i lived in an affluent area but i just do not see a load of obese children on the streets, and why would poor kids be fatter than rich kids?

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
Socioeconomic status does correlate with childhood obesity but whether that correlation is positive or negative varies by nation:
Cross-national comparison of childhood obesity: the epidemic and the relationship between obesity and socioeconomic status

In the US lower SES children are more likely to be obese, in China it's higher SES children. Remembering back to some epidemiology modules I studied in a masters there have been lots of studies on this disparity. Generally it's because in developing nations access to plentiful food is something only those of high SES have. However in developed nations food is plentiful for all but healthy food is more expensive so lower SES people are more obese.

The obesogenic environment is a real point of epidemiological study, it broadly refers to the environment (which covers everything from trends in food manufacture to urban planning and work place practice) and how it encourages consumption of fattening foods and discourages exercise. Aspects of it over the last 50 years include increasing availability of fast food, changes in work practices resulting in more sedentary work etc.

Oh and as for whether or not you see obese children the UK National Child Measurement program reports that 19% of children aged 10-11 are obese. I've not got time to dive into statistics but I'm betting that's not distributed uniformly across the nation. Anecdotally I've seen more overweight children and adults in the last two years since I've moved to London than I did when I lived in a small town on the edge of the countryside.

zoobyshoe
Gold Member
Thanks Ryan, so it is availability of food where one lives, even which country, very confusing.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
It's more than the availability of food; it's also the type of food, the cost, the access to food (there have been plenty of studies looking at how supermarket distribution and other urban planning factors affect different socioeconomic groups) and lifestyle options which range from how active one's job is to how easy it is to obtain exercise from your local environment (crime ridden, parkless, gymless areas have less option for exercise than those that are safe with well maintained parks and a selection of gyms).

To be honest, I'm in America, and our eating habits are horrible.
I think it all depends on what food is "that nation's food," like for Americans, it's hamburgers.
And french fries.
And soda.
And candy.
And loads of other unhealthy stuff. Sure, eat those things once in a while, but we Americans tend to eat that too often.

Gold Member
Now i am getting confused i can buy a 10lb bag of rice for $6, ground beef is$3.50lb just from looking on the net and i am not singling out the USA. i could make a lot more meals out of the bag of rice than i could the beef. so why , to me, go for the most expensive food.

Ryan_m_b
Staff Emeritus
I'm confused by what you mean Wolram. What is the issue with ground beef and why compare it to rice? A better thing to do would be to compare the cost of the same food, the same weight, but different brands. For example: what is the difference in cost and nutrition between supermarket basics brands and the premium brands?

You'll very likely find that for most products the per kilo cost of healthier food compared to less healthy food is much higher. So if you're in a position where you're really looking to save money and still feed your family you're going to maximise the amount of food you buy, at the expense of nutrition.

Once I saw an excellent BBC documentary about the issue Ryan is talking about. They compared cheap and more expensive brands of the same kind of meal. They did lab tests with Tesco brands and others of similar quality) and compared them to the expensive ones. The cheaper the product was, the more fat, sugar, empty calories it contained. That is not true in all cases, there are always exceptions, but generally speaking, it is true.
Next time when you go shopping, just compare the ingredients in cheap and expensive sausages, for example.
Here, in Slovakia, the meat content may be between 30% and above 90%. That's a huge difference. Unfortunately, many people will only buy the cheapest ones, as most common salaries are about 500-700€ /month (minimal wage is 380€/month)with food prices comparable to the US. Ground beef is for 3,5-4€/ kg. Of course, chicken and pork are cheaper, as beef is the most expensive kind of meat (not counting freshwater fish, that is expensive too, but people only rarely buy them).
What I have noticed is that many people drink only soda. That is particularly dangerous I think. It not only contains many calories, but if you sip it throughout the day it may have a negative effect on insulin production and may lead to Diabetes in the long run. I have seen kids drink 1.5-2L bottle of soda at school. They get used to it so much they don't even think about drinking pure water any more. I often see mothers give very young children, even younger than 1 year tea with sugar. I work at the shop and once a mother asked me for a drink for her child (3 years?). I offered a mineral water, but she was totally surprised like."I was asking for a drink for my CHILD! Don't you have anything sweet?"
Anyway, back to your question. Statistically, we have a high rate of children who are overweight or obese, but I seldom see them. And I teach at school and kindergarten part time. Some kids are bigger (but they are also taller with stronger bones) but there are only a few kids I would call overweight. But PE teachers say their speed and strength deteriorate rapidly and many kids are not interested in sports, they refuse to exercise.

Borek and wolram
"Being overweight over a lifetime means you accumulate risks for things like heart disease and diabetes."

Lol... makes sense, I guess ?

You can eat very healthy for cheap if you cook your food. The problem is, most people are lazy and quite frankly stupid. They prefer processed, pre-made food such as frozen, canned, or "instant" varieties, which are generally horrible for you, but are calorie dense and most people think taste better.

I would say I spend less than $10 a day on average for all the food I eat (which is actually a lot). I cook everything I eat, which is mostly vegetables meat, and complex carbohydrates like brown rice, sweet potato and oatmeal. Of course some people don't even have easy access to vegetables in very urban areas, but most people are fat mainly because of terrible decisions. Unfortunately, along with all types of education, health education among low income communities is often non-existent. So you have people with easy access to very calorie dense food, which is not much more expensive than healthier alternatives, but which is far more convenient in terms of preparation and is engineered to taste better... it's not surprising people get fat. wolram Is child hood obesity a problem? all the kids i know are slim and active. http://www.usc.edu/org/InsightBusiness/SP07articles/obesity.pdf [Broken] I just had an article about obesity published, The New York City Soda Pop War. Not about childhood obesity, but hopefully enlightening. Did you know that 11% of US adults have Type II diabetes? See what happens when someone tries to do something about it. http://bad.eserver.org/editors/2015/powers-sodapop.htm Last edited by a moderator: Gold Member I just had an article about obesity published, The New York City Soda Pop War. Not about childhood obesity, but hopefully enlightening. Did you know that 11% of US adults have Type II diabetes? See what happens when someone tries to do something about it. http://bad.eserver.org/editors/2015/powers-sodapop.htm This story has made me just so angry, it paints a bleak future, imagine uneducated brain washed fat slobs all with healthy problems driving the economy of a country Helping Your Child Reach and Maintain a Healthy Weight. The number of children who are obese or overweight is growing at an alarming rate. Extra pounds put kids at risk of serious health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. Now i am getting confused i can buy a 10lb bag of rice for$6, ground beef is \$3.50lb just from looking on the net and i am not singling out the USA. i could make a lot more meals out of the bag of rice than i could the beef. so why , to me, go for the most expensive food.

You can feed a lot of people with one of those bags.

You can eat very healthy for cheap if you cook your food. The problem is, most people are lazy and quite frankly stupid. They prefer processed, pre-made food such as frozen, canned, or "instant" varieties, which are generally horrible for you, but are calorie dense and most people think taste better.

This. A thousand times this.
Me and my roommate spend on average less than 30 euros for 4 warm meals, breakfast and soup for lunch. (in belgium we usually go home over the weekend)
And it's diverse, when we make a list we make sure we get as much different foods as possible.

The other night I made pizza from scratch. We estimated a cost of 3 euros for 2 pizzas.
We had half a pizza left (which became my breakfast).

I challenge anyone to order a pizza for less than twice that. (it had a lot of toppings)
On average a pizza margarita costs 5 euros over here. It's tomato sauce and some cheese while being very greasy.

I wonder how we can teach people to cook again. (It's not very extreme in Belgium as far as I know)
It's cheaper, healthier and often tastier (imho)

Choppy
It's more than the availability of food; it's also the type of food, the cost, the access to food (there have been plenty of studies looking at how supermarket distribution and other urban planning factors affect different socioeconomic groups) and lifestyle options which range from how active one's job is to how easy it is to obtain exercise from your local environment (crime ridden, parkless, gymless areas have less option for exercise than those that are safe with well maintained parks and a selection of gyms).

I think Ryan_m_b is right on the money here. It seems to me that a lot of people oversimplify the problem. They believe that obese people should just eat less and it will go away, and if they continue to eat high calorie foods and avoid exercise then obesity is their own fault.

But what about factors such as:
1. If you don't have a car, you have to rely on whatever supermarket (if any) is within walking distance. Or, you have to take public transit, if available, to the good ones. When I was a student sometimes it would take half the day to go grocery shopping this way.
2. Time starvation. In a world where people are often racing to meet deadlines, get to soccer games, sit in on that PTA meeting, finish a night school assignment, etc. the fast-food, or quick, premade food option is often the one that is perceived to cost the least time.
3. Stress, or anything that wears down your brain's executive function capacity (lack of sleep, poor diet, lack of exercise, too much input, etc.) is statistically going to make people cave in to making those less-than healthy eating decisions.
4. Near constant temptation. How readily available is high-calorie food compared to lower calorie options?
5. Misinformation... because you know, everything on the internet about food is true.
6. Jobs that force people to stay in one place, or limit mobility and exercise?
7. Urban sprawl. Kids have less opportunity these days to just wander off into the woods for a Saturday afternoon and play. Maybe there's a park nearby if they're lucky. But how socially acceptable is it for a teenager to hang around a jungle gym?
8. Real estate. Have you looked at the size of backyards in new housing complexes recently? Developers make money by the square footage of the house, not the lot. How are kids supposed to have a soccer game in the back yard when they don't even have enough room to kick the ball?
9. Sedentary entertainment. Who wants to go out and play street hockey when you've got the lasted HALO game ready to go on your gaming system?

Ryan_m_b and Sophia