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 Hereditary Factors In Childhood Obesity

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PostSubject: Hereditary Factors In Childhood Obesity   Fri Oct 08, 2010 5:21 pm



How do we define obesity? In simple terms, it can be viewed as the excessive accumulation of body fat. When boys possess more than 25% fat in their total body weight, and girls possess more than 32%, then they are considered to be obese. Adults have a variety of medications they can rely on to combat obesity. These include Apidex and Phentermine. It's a different story, however, for children.

Obese children are at risk for developing a variety of illnesses and diseases. They are at risk for developing pediatric hypertension, for example. This disorder increases the risk of contracting type 2 diabetes, problems with the joints, as well as cardiac disease. What can be a worse - and more immediate - problem for children dealing with obesity is the social stigmatization they often become the victims of, which results in serious emotional and psychological problems associated with low self esteem. Obese children often grapple with depression - much more so than non obese children. But just because one is obese as a child does not necessarily mean they will grow in to an obese adult. There are all kinds of factors that determine obesity, including genetics and hereditary factors. If the problem is dealt with from an early age, adulthood obesity can be avoided.

But let's focus on one of the less obvious aspects of childhood obesity for a minute. While the causes of obesity are well reported - namely lack of exercise and bad eating habits - there are also familial and hereditary instances of obesity that are less often analyzed. Children whose parents are obese have a much greater chance of becoming obese themselves. Perhaps this has to do with genetic factors, but more often than not, it has to do with the family's sedentary lifestyle and eating habits. If parents do not take proper care of themselves, then their children can be born obese.

It is also true that not all children who lead the sedentary lifestyle so common of young people today - that is spending more time in front of the television and computer than outside playing sports and being active - wind up becoming obese. Researchers have been looking in to the reasons why this is so. It probably has more to do with heredity than anything else. Heredity can influence such factors as one's response to overfeeding, one's degree of fatness, as well as the way fat is distributed in one's body. Recent studies have also established that babies born to overweight mothers tend to be less active and gain more weight in early infancy due to some apparently internal desire to conserve energy.

Children who are overweight and lead inactive lives, spending excessive amounts of time engaged in non physical activities such as playing video and computer games and watching television, certainly will not combat obesity in this fashion. Parents should do everything they can to discourage this "couch potato" lifestyle, while also monitoring their children's eating habits. A healthy home life makes for healthy children, who are more likely to develop into healthy adults.
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