Child obesity is a critical issue affecting both developed and developing nations. Both overweight and obesity are scientifically proven to impact the various aspects of psychological and physical health. Additional data from the Health Survey for England identify that obese children who grow with the condition are likely not to change (Moody & Neave, 2016). Similarly, individuals are also expected to attain non-communicable diseases at a young age. Examples of non-communicable such as cardiovascular disease or diabetes. Nevertheless, the mechanisms that result in obesity is still being studied by scientists. The mechanisms that lead to obesity are yet to be comprehended by scientists (Moody and Neave, 2016). Other factors that contribute to childhood obesity include environmental factors, lifestyles, and the level of development. Generally, being obese or overweight, the public assumes that the size is due to caloric intake. The mechanisms of obesity are yet to be understood by the scientific community. Finally, it is alleged to be a disorder with numerous causes (Moody &Neave, 2016). Childhood obesity can profoundly affect the social, physical, and mental health of a child. The objective is to research secondary data on childhood obesity in London. It will address the various causes while providing possible recommendations to reduce the number of cases.
Recent data from the scientific community identified that the planet is experiencing a rapid epidemiological and nutritional transition.
However, it has received the recognition of being persistent with nutritional deficiencies (Hanlon et al., 2019). The evidence for the notion is present, with the current population having an increased number of stunted growths and anaemia cases, among others. Concurrently, there has been a rapid rise in the number of obese, diabetic, and other NRCDs (nutrition-related chronic diseases) like cancer as well as cardiovascular disease in populations (Bhadoria et al., 2015). Developed countries are experiencing the worst cases of obesity as it is prevalent among children, teenagers, and young adults. It is noteworthy that developing countries are also affected by obesity cases. Nevertheless, the research identified that women have a higher likelihood of being obese due to the inherent hormone differences. According to Bhadoria et al. (2015), the data from various studies on obesity identified that obesity is the genesis of type-2 diabetes and coronary heart illness in children (Bhadoria et al., 2015). The researchers continue to recognise that childhood obesity serves as an essential factor in the numerous cases of non-communicable diseases.
Nonetheless, in the past four decades, the number of children having obesity has increased phenomenally. The notion also applies the most in developed countries, as previously mentioned. The trends are also present in developing countries such as India, which presented data indicating a rise in the number of children who are obese and overweight (Bhadoria et al., 2015). However, with the increase in international recognition of the problems caused by obesity, they were later distinguished as global malnutritional problems. From the newly defined perception of obesity, Bhadoria et al. (2015) stated that it becomes simpler to address the root cause (Bhadoria et al., 2015). Overall, childhood obesity is among the most critical public health challenge to affect developed countries such as the United Kingdom. The problem initially began as one concerning developed country only; however, it is steadily affecting middle- and low-income countries. The researchers presented data from a 2010 global study indicating the then number of obese and overweight children under the age of five years. The data identified over 40 million children as being obese and overweight, and of the number, over 35 million were from developed countries (Bhadoria et al., 2015).
According to the Health Survey for England, the percentage of children aged 2 to 15 years categorised as being obese or overweight has been increasing. Research data from the same organisation spanning ten years, from 1997 to 2007, indicated an increase in the percentage of obesity and overweight in both boys and girls (Simmonds et al., 2015). The data identified that male children aged 2-10 years had an increase of approximately 25 to 30%. Female children, on the other hand, aged between 2-10 years, increase by 23 to 28% (Simmonds et al., 2015). The previously stated notion that hormonal difference facilitates some of the differences in obesity between boys and girls can be proved with the data from the organisation (Simmonds et al., 2015). For example, it was indicated that the 2-10 years age group, the percentage of obese or overweight boys was higher. However, among the 11-15 years age group, the girls surpassed the boys, and among the reasons was a hormonal difference.
In the United Kingdom, child obesity is increasing, and the problem is most apparent in London. Data from a 2018 national survey identified that the prevalence of childhood obesity among children of the age group 4-6years was 10%, which is higher than the national average of 9.6% (Goisis et al., 2019). Additionally, London has the highest obesity prevalence for children aged 10-12years in all of England. The percentage is set at 24% of the age group being obese, which is also higher than the national average of 20% (Goisis et al., 2019). However, the data on obesity prevalence percentage of London children aged 4-6years has remained stagnant for the past five years. However, the percentage difference for those with age group 10-12 years has increased slightly in the past five years (Goisis et al., 2019). In both age groups, the boys posed more significant risks than girls of being obese. The NCMP (National Child Measurement Programme) was the source for most of the data on obesity in London. The program identified the percentages of children aged 4-6 years and 10-12 years at risk of either being overweight or obese (Goisis et al., 2019). Other categories assessed by the program were gender and primary care trust. The NCMP utilises the term "at-risk" to indicate the analysis does not provide scientific data on the number or percentage of individuals clinically labelled as either obese or overweight. According to the program percentages, ratios and other statistical numbers are based on cutoff points used for population monitoring.
Child Obesity in London
Other developed countries regard the United Kingdom as among the most prevalent when it comes to social inequality. Therefore, the frequency of children at risk of obesity is highest in the most underprivileged regions, and London is among the stated areas (Small & Aplasca, 2016). Children from specific minority ethnic groups were identified as among those exposed to higher risks. The groups include Black African, Black Caribbean, and Bangladeshi. However, a further analysis conducted by NOO (National Obesity Observatory) identified that the link between obesity and ethnicity was not as strong as with deprivation (Small & Aplasca, 2016). The reasoning offered was that weight differences between ethnic groups could be linked to variations in body structure or other physical aspects, for instance, height.
Causes of Childhood Obesity
Presently, there is no data available on the projections of obesity among children in London. However, National forecasts based on data from the Health Survey for England offered identified projections from archived data. For example, the data group from between 1993 and 2004 indicated that by 2050 nearly one-quarter of individuals under the age of 20 years would be obese or overweight. Analysis of the data from the 1993 to 2007 study projected that there would be a positive national shifty in the levels of healthy weights among children. The assumptions also include the weight levels for 2020 in the projections. On the other hand, it is important not to undervalue the present obesity cases. The condition has already been recognised to cause illnesses, for example, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, which take time to clinically manifest (Ulijaszek et al., 2016). Today, obesity is directly associated with significant psychological as well as physical health problems. According to Hanlon et al. (2019), there is data on their effects such as low self-confidence, depression, and low self-confidence, the conditions are also present from a young age (Hanlon et al., 2019). The situation worsens as the child develops because the psychological patterns increase with the age of the child. Additional data also identified that obese children had high probabilities of maintaining their unhealthy lifestyles. In developed areas such as London, Simmonds et al. (2015), the risk for psychological issues for girls are expected to have the worst experience. The data continues to include the probability of obesity in adulthood (Simmonds et al., 2015). By viewing obesity from the previously stated perspective, it can be affected by increasing physical activities or by reducing calorific intake.
However, childhood obesity influenced by other factors other than the high consumption of foods (Hanlon et al., 2019). The factor is cultural and social pressures; these factors contribute to the difficulty of people adapting to the new behavioral changes in their lifestyle and diet. There are numerous socioeconomic and lifestyle factors that affect the prevalence of childhood obesity in London. Some of the identified issues include household income, child gender, amount of physical exercise, and parental BMI (body mass index) (Upton et al. 2010). Additionally, humans are predetermined by nature to consume more calories with the notion of self-preservation as they defend against hunger. Regardless, the social aspect of child obesity is directly linked by researchers to familial and parental influence. According to Bingham et al. (2013), if only one of the child's caregivers is obese, the likelihood of the child also being obese increased by three folds. Additionally, parents control the national value of the food given to their offsprings. It is from the identified perspective that the researchers further identify that some parents or caregivers do not provide and encourage healthy feeding.
There are various causes of lack of information to conflicting marketing communications on the best and healthiest foodstuff. Given the current economic situation, 'junk food,' which mostly comprise of processed foods and additional chemicals, offers the best solution for financially limited caregivers (Ulijaszek et al., 2016). Even though the high prevalence of obesity amongst young Londoners is concerning, especially considering the positive opinion on their health. A study conducted by Ulijaszek et al. (2016), identified that in the age group 11 to 16 years of age, 96% of the participants had positive outlooks towards their current state (Ulijaszek et al., 2016). The adopted notions are indicators of the lack of health information on the impact of obesity. Caregivers or parents also contribute to their lack of awareness of their child's weight and overall health. Additional research also contributes to the understanding that not all parents acknowledge that their children are either obese or overweight. The research continues to indicate that children are aware of what foods are healthy and which are not (Ulijaszek et al., 2016). However, they do not value the importance of healthy foods or do not understand the consequences of eating unhealthy foods as being personally relevant.
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