Child Obesity Among The Minority Population
Obesity and childhood overweight in is determined by Body Mass Index (BMI). When a child’s overweight is described to be a BMI between 85 percent and 95 percent for children and teenagers of the same age and gender. The BMI is derived at by driving an individual’s weight taken in kilograms by the square height in meters. The BMI of children and teens is specific to age and sex and normally referred to as BMI for age. The status of a child’s weight is determined by the use of age-and-gender- specific percentage for BMI simply because the composition of a child’s body varies as they age and it also varies depending on the gender. For instance, a boy of 10 years with an average height of 55 inches and weighs 100 pounds will have a BMI of 23.0 kg/m2 placing the boy at a BMI of 95 percent, and this qualifies him to be obese. The following table can help understand on the categories of a child’s weight (The Future of Children, 2006).
|Category of Weight Status||Percentage Range|
|Under weight||Less than 5 percent|
|Normal weight (Healthy weight)||Between 5 – 85 percent|
|Overweight||Between 85 – 95 percent|
|Obese||Over 95 percent|
Over twenty years ago, there was no medical term to describe this challenge in weight. As the number grew, more children got impacted by this problem in weight, and it got labeled as childhood overweight and to those whose went was past overweight, were labeled obese.
Child obesity among the minority is perceived to be high compared to other groups. The Black and the Hispanic children are observed at greater risk for all risk factors acknowledged to be the dominant factors contributing to the chances of getting obese in children. Childhood obesity seems to be taking line along the ethnic and race, thus affecting the minority adversely (Whitacre & Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 2009, p. 2-10). The research was able to identify the risk factors for childhood obesity as follows; a child with an obese mother had high chances of being obese. When a woman is depressed or suffers diabetes, then her child is likely to be obese. When a pregnant mother begins to take solid foods at an early age of four months. Rapid weight gain also leads to obese of the children. When one stops breastfeeding at a very young age and lack of sufficient sleep, children having televisions in their bedrooms and high consumption of sugary beverages. Another factor considered to be contributing to child obesity among the minority is the high consumption of fast food after attaining the age of two years.
Another survey was done by the Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity (2014), across the African- American and Mexican-American shows that obesity rate among the groups was a bit high. The estimated rates are only related to racial and ethnic groups. The research shows that the obesity rates have gone up in boys and girls within the ethnic groups. The most affected group is the American – Mexican and the African – American children. Based on gender, boys from both groups are higher than white children of the same age and sex group. Boys of the corresponding age group in the Mexican – American, were more obese than the African – Americans. Among the minority population, it is perceived that children are at more risk regardless of the ethnic group difference. Several analysts have linked these results to the socioeconomic status which is considered to be due to low income and poor diet. Most of the minority persons live a poor life after failing to secure good jobs and life thus leading to the wrong state of living. Due to their economic status, they find themselves at the receiving end of these weight-related diseases and many others (Whitacre & Institute of Medicine (U.S.), 2009, p. 13-17).
A study by Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity (2014), further confirms this as indicates that minority population with low-income children are at more risk of being obese than their counterparts, the wealthier children. The link between obesity and socioeconomic status among the children varies based on the ethnicity of which is the minority population. In general, child obesity among the white children is small, and the rate is declining due to real income of the parents that helps maintain a proper diet and other obesity related activities are kept away. Another factor resulting in a low rate of obesity among the majority population is the increase in parental education. Office of Minority Health Resource Center (2016), argues that rate of obesity among the white children declines as the family income increases while the obesity level among the minority increases due to low income resulting to poor diet, poor parental education and not engaging in activities that can keep obesity away and stay healthy.
Symptoms of Obesity
There is one thing that should be put clear, not all children with extra weight are obesity or overweight. Some children are considered to be having large body frames, and for this, they should not be seen as obese. At different ages, children tend to have a different amount of fats in the body at the various stages of development. The BMI index is the best equipment to determine the weight of the child. Once it is noticed that a child is put on too much weight, it is wise to visit a doctor. Based on the child’s health, the medical officer will find out the child’s history in growth and development; compare it to the family’s history to determine the child’s weight status (The Future of Children, 2006).
Causes of Obesity
Lifestyle issues, this is one of the main factors leading to child obesity as they stay indoors and engages in no activity thus keeping too many calories consumed from foods. Genetic and hormonal factors also contribute to obese. Regular meals with high calories like the fast foods, snacks and baked foods help one gain weight quickly. Any good foods that are sugary contribute a lot to weight gain. Lack of exercise is another factor leading to weight gain as no calories are burnt thus accumulating in the body resulting in weight gain. As children spend most of their play time watching televisions and playing video games. Family-related factors also contribute to children’s overweight as some come from families of obese parents and this is inherited by the children. In such cases, there is always free and easy accessibility to calorie foods and not engaging in any physical activities. Psychological issues affect the children thus increasing the risks of being obese, and these Psychological problems are the stress, and since children cannot cope with them, they tend to eat over leading to weight gain. Socioeconomic factors such as being unable to go to the supermarkets and due to this, they opted to buy food in bulk such as meat and froze them. This will make the family take one type of food for some time (Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity, 2014).
Obesity is associated with complications of a child’s emotional, social and physical well-being. The physical complications related to child obesity are; Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease – (NAFLD), it has not symptoms and leaves fat deposits do accumulate around the liver causing damage to the liver. Children with obesity are like to have asthma. A poor diet results in high blood pressure and high cholesterol conditions. An obese child is likely to suffer the type 2 diabetes which is a chronic health condition that affects hoe the body uses glucose (Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity, 2014). Apart from the physical complications, an obese child is likely to suffer the following social and emotional complications; a child is likely to be depressed due to low self-esteem caused by other children who are liable to bully and tease others because of overweight. Obese children tend to have poor social skills compared to other children with a healthy weight.
Diagnosis and Treatment
There should be regular child care check-ups where the doctor will check the BMI of the child and determine the whether BMI status is alarming or not. To determine whether a child’s weight requires health attention, the following factors will be checked by the doctor to evaluate the BMI status; the family’s history of obesity and any other weight related issues, child’s level of activities, any other health condition the child may experience and the child’s eating habits. Blood tests are done to determine if the child is obese or not. The blood tests may include the following tests; Cholesterol test, blood sugar and any other blood test to confirm imbalance of hormones, lack of vitamin D or any other condition linked to obesity. During these tests, it is advisable that the child should not take anything either eaten or drunk.
In conclusion, the rate of obesity among the minority population which is the Hispanic, Mexican and African – American children is higher than their white peers. Among the minority, the obesity rate is very high among the girls as the comparison varies across the groups. The economic status is the core cause of obesity to the minority. The rate of obesity among the American- Indian children seems comparable to that of the African – American children. Children from the Samoan community are also a big risk. Poor minority children are likely suffer more simply because of the factors they are exposed to, their chances of genetically inheritance are also high since most of their parents are facing obesity related issues (Office of Minority Health Resource Center, 2016).
The Future of Children. (2006, November). – The Future of Children -. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://futureofchildren.org/publications/journals/article/index.xml?journalid=36&articleid=101§ionid=645
Office of Minority Health Resource Center. (2016). Resource Center – The Office of Minority Health. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=1&lvlid=3
Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Obesity. (2014). the State of Obesity. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from stateofobesity.org/disparities/
Sekhar, S. (2014, June 14). The Significance of Childhood Obesity in Communities of Color – Center for American Progress. Retrieved December 10, 2016, from https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/healthcare/reports/2010/06/14/7908/the-significance-of-childhood-obesity-in-communities-of-color/
Whitacre, P., & Institute of Medicine (U.S.). (2009). Community perspectives on obesity prevention in children: Workshop summaries. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.