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Childhood Obesity, Its Definition and Causes


The social ideology of consumerism along with other aspects of progress brought new issues to society. One of them is obesity, a problem that is continuously becoming more severe in many countries. The rates of obesity in all age groups are steadily increasing every year. However, the issue of childhood obesity is especially severe, as it affects not only children’s present but also their future health and lifestyle. According to Ogden, Carroll, Kit, and Flegal (2014), the prevalence of childhood obesity did not decrease over time. The authors state that approximately seventeen percent of children are diagnosed with obesity (Ogden et al., 2014). Moreover, the problem of obesity in children only continues to grow.

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The problem of childhood obesity is not new. For example, Cunningham, Kramer, and Narayan (2014) state that the prevalence of obesity in children increased by more than ten percent in forty years. While these numbers may not sound significant to some scholars, it is important to point out that the current rates are growing even faster. The increase in these figures shows that the problem of childhood obesity is only becoming more severe every year.

The scientific community conducts many studies that explore childhood obesity, including its rates, causes, and ways of prevention. Some studies look into the prevalence of childhood obesity in order to establish the speed, at which this issue is spreading. The articles mentioned before investigating this topic. Other studies explore the possible causes of childhood obesity. For example, Sahoo et al. (2015) state that there are many factors that can cause obesity in children. Moreover, other studies suggest possible approaches to solving the issue of obesity or mitigating its severity. However, the existing research does not present enough information to find all causes of obesity in children. While some approaches to this issue have been discovered, the rates of childhood obesity continue to increase. The problem of childhood obesity requires scholars to perform new research and find more information on various aspects of obesity as well as additional ways of prevention and mitigation for this issue.

It is necessary to define obesity and explore the information that is already included in existing research to assess the problem of childhood obesity. Various definitions show that obesity is a complex concept. Thus, studies may interpret obtained data differently according to their methods of measuring. However, the problem of people being overweight does not lose its significance because of this aspect. According to Sahoo et al. (2015), obesity can be described as an “excess of body fat” (p. 190). This characterization implies that the information obtained with the help of the body mass index is not always representative of one’s risk for obesity. Sahoo et al. (2015) write that obesity in children is hard to establish because their body constantly changes as they grow. Therefore, the problem of diagnosing obesity needs to be researched further.

Researchers outline a number of causes that may lead to obesity. The main reason is usually described as a difference between calorie intake and energy expenditure. However, there are many other factors that can influence one’s risk of obesity. First of all, many researchers focus on genetic background and its possible influence on one’s predisposition to being overweight. Moreover, these factors can include one’s lifestyle, which is also closely connected to the aspect of parenting. Children often repeat the information and behavioral patterns that they obtain from their parents and guardians. Thus, childhood obesity may be connected to the parents having health issues as well. Lifestyle problems also include lack of physical activity, and sedentary behavior (Xu & Xue, 2015). Finally, the diet of a child influences his or her health as well. Poor dieting habits may increase one’s risk of being obese. There are many types of food and beverages that affect one’s health.


There are other factors of childhood obesity that are not as studied as the ones mentioned above. For instance, socio-economic, psychological, and geographical factors present more information about one’s possibility of becoming obese. One’s food intake may be connected to cultural differences, societal norms, or mental causes.


Cunningham, S. A., Kramer, M. R., & Narayan, V. (2014). Incidence of childhood obesity in the United States. The New England Journal of Medicine, 370(1), 403-411.

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Ogden, C. L., Carrol, M. D., Kit, B. K., & Flegal, K. M. (2014). Prevalence of childhood and adult obesity in the United States, 2011-2012. JAMA Journal of the American Medical Association, 311(8), 806-814.

Sahoo, K., Sahoo, B., Choudhury, A. K., Sofi, N., Y., Kumar, R., & Bhadoria, A. S. (2015). Childhood obesity: Causes and consequences. Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, 4(2), 187-192.

Xu, S., & Xue, Y. (2015). Pediatric obesity: Causes, symptoms, prevention and treatment (review). Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine, 11(1), 15-20.

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