Childhood obesity is a condition where excess body fat negatively affects a child’s health or hauora/wellbeing. Due to the rising numbers of obesity in children and its many negative health effects, it is being recognized as a serious public health concern. According to WikiAnswers, %8.3 of NZ children are obese and %20 are overweight.
Methods that determine body fat are difficult. The diagnosis of obesity is often based on BMI (Body Mass Index). The BMI is a proxy based on an individual’s weight and height. It does not actually measure the percentage of body fat. It is define as an individual’s weight divided by the square of his/her height. This is not a very accurate measurement which makes it a lot harder to decide whether obesity is a growing issue in New Zealand.
Obesity can lead to many negative health problems and/or conditions. Type 2 Diabetes is one of the bigger health problems that obesity can lead to. It is the high blood sugar that increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes, amputation, and kidney failure. Obstructive sleep Apnea is another which causes an individual to have pauses of breath during their sleep. There are also certain types of cancer that obesity can lead to, such as: breast, kidney, oesophagus and lining of the uterus, but mainly in the colon. Obesity has been found to reduce the expectancy of life. This is a big problem for the growing number of child obesity in New Zealand.
Obesity affects many aspects of life. Socially obesity can affect a child’s ability to interact with other children. In the playground, obese children aren’t able to physically keep up with other children in the usual games that children play. This causes them to be out casted or left out and often leads to bullying. Obese children are discriminated against because of their size. These negatively affect a child’s emotional wellbeing and self esteem. With a low self esteem, they find it hard to be motivated to improve their health. They have no one to help them both emotionally and physically. In worse cases there have been suicides. This is a huge problem for the future of New Zealand. This is where the government have to step in.
Politically obesity is not well-promoted. Communities are unaware of the effects and causes of obesity. This is a main reason why people do not know how to prevent child obesity or fight it. The fact that the government haven’t paid full attention to this epidemic is a big problem. The Government have not funded in promoting healthy eating or helped stop the regulation of fast-food chains. They need to force the message across schools and organisations in communities where it’s needed the most, to educate our children and parents. They can do this by funding more health organisations and charities such as ‘The Heart Foundation’ who fund their own research and programmes. It will allow them to further their research and prepare more accurate programmes that will help fight obesity in different communities. A lot can be done with even a little funding from the government, which is why the government need to pay serious attention to this epidemic.
Economically obesity is caused through the media advertisements and the prices of food. A very big problem in New Zealand is the prices of food. Fast-food and takeaway outlets have meals that are cheap and affordable. Their unhealthy products sell out a lot because of their low prices. A McDonald’s Deluxe Cheeseburger sells at a simple $2.50, a burger that is affordable from finding loose change around the house. This is how easy it can be for a child to buy a Cheeseburger or even a couple. This burger itself contains approximately 600-1500 calories per serving whereas 1 serving (177 grams) of a garden salad only contains 35 calories. This is a big difference. Advertising these meals also play a big part in their economical strategies. Would you rather go for “A slice of melty New Zealand cheese on a juicy 100% beef patty, zippy...
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