Childhood & Adolescent Obesity
What’s going on today?
- Obesity is considered to be an excess body fat percentage of 38 for females and 25 for males.1, 2
- 1 out of every 3 American children are overweight or obese.9 That’s three times the amount about 30 years ago.10
- Escalated childhood obesity has been linked to increased inactive lifestyles and decreased physical activity.4, 5
- Fast food, consisting of over 10% of the American diet, can contain over 2000 kcal in one meal. 14, 15 That is enough to sustain a mildly-active child for an entire day.
- Childhood obesity is due to energy disparity- caused by a combination of excess caloric intake and inadequate calorie expenditure. 16
- Almost half of adolescents watch more than 2 hours of television each day. 18
- Adults, the role models for children and adolescents, are setting a bad example- less than 1/3 of adults in the U.S. engage in the recommend amount of physical activity and almost half participate in no leisure time physical activity. 18
- Only 1 out of 5 junior high schools and 1 out of every 50 senior high schools require physical activity. In addition, less than 1/3 of high school students participate in voluntary physical education. 19
- Though predisposition has been linked to obesity, only 25-40% of body weight discrepancy is due to genetics.3
What are the consequences?
- Obesity influences health, quality of life, and impacts overall well-being (physical, social, and psychological health).11, 12
- The economic burden of obesity-related issues in the United States was over $100 billion in 2000.6 1/4 of all health plan health care charges and national health care charges are associated with physical inactivity and obesity.8
- Increased health risk for psychological stress, social discrimination, low self-esteem, cardiovascular disease, asthma, liver problems, sleep apnea, kidney failure, arthritis, and type II diabetes. 18
What should we be doing?
- Reduction in electronic media (TV, computer, etc.) usage has been shown to improve body composition (BMI, skin-fold thickness, waist circumference, & waist-to-hip ratio). 17
- Long-term eating and activity patterns develop during childhood and adolescent years, 13 thus increasing the need to develop healthy habits.
- 200-300 minutes of exercise per week (roughly 30-40 min per day) is optimal for long-term weight management. 7 The United States Department of Agriculture recommends children get at least an hour of activity per day. 20
- The Surgeon General recommends children and adolescents get 60 minutes of moderate physical activity most days of the week. 19
How can ITE help?
- ITE provides youth with various physical activities in nature whilst promoting personal growth through critical thinking and ecological and social awareness.
- ITE’s activities promote stress relief, self-esteem building, mindfulness, and trust with one another.
- ITE provides youth a healthy alternative to a sedentary lifestyle, which includes watching television, playing video games and browsing the internet.
- ITE’s activities help to improve muscular coordination and body awareness for organized sports and day-to-day activities.
- ITE educates youth on proper physical and nutritional needs associated with various levels of activity.
- ITE provides youth with the tools necessary to make healthy choices.
- ITE educates youth on the benefits of living an active lifestyle along with eating healthier.
- ITE promotes physical activity, whilst avoiding traditional “structure” of organized sports.
- ITE promotes “Youth Wellness” as a lifestyle through various activities that engage nutrition, fitness, and mindfulness into everyday practices.
- ITE teaches “Sustainable Practices” to youth by way of personal choices that have long-term effects on humanity, wildlife, and ecosystems.
- ITE harvests “Youth Character Development” which paves the way for leadership into adolescence and adulthood.
- ITE encourages “Community Action“- a voiced action that reflects the needs of local communities.
1. Going, S., & Davis, R. Body composition. In J.L. Roitman, ed. ACSM’s resource manual for guidelines for exercise testing and prescription. Baltimore: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2001, pp. 391-400.
2. Lohman, T.G., L. Houtkooper, & S. B. Going. Body fat measurement goes high-tech: Not all are created equal. ACSM’s Health & Fitness Journal, 1997: 1, pp. 30-35.
3. Salbe, A.D., & E. Ravussin. The determinants of obesity. In C. Bouchard, ed. Physical activity and obesity. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics, 2000, pp. 69-102.
4. Robinson, T.N. Does television cause childhood obesity? Journal of the American Medical Association, 1998: 279, pp. 959-960.
5. Gortmaker, S., A. Must, A. Sobel, K. Peterson, G. A. Colditz, & W.H. Dietz. Television viewing as a cause of increasing obesity among children in the United States. Archives of Pediatric Adolescent Medicine, 1996: 150, pp. 356-362.
6. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The Surgeon General’s call to action to prevent and decrease overweight and obesity. Rockville, MD: U.S. Government Printing Office, 2001.
7. American College of Sports Medicine. Appropriate intervention strategies for weight loss and prevention of
weight regain for adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 2001: 33(12), pp. 2145-2156.
8. Anderson, et al. Health Care Charges Associated With Physical Inactivity, Overweight, and Obesity. Preventing Chronic Disease, 2005: 2(4), p. A09.
9. Lobstein, T., L. Baur, & R. Uauy: IASO International Obesity Task Force. Obesity in children and young people: a crisis in public health. Obes Rev Suppl, 2004: 5(Suppl. 1), pp. 4-104.
10. Teachman B. A. & K. D. Brownell. Implicit anti-fat bias among health professionals: is anyone immune? Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord, 2001: 10, pp.1525-1531.
11. Williams, J., M. Wake, K. Hesketh, E. Maher, & E. Waters. Health-related quality of life of overweight and obese children.
JAMA, 2005: 293, pp. 70-76.
12. Dietz, W. H. Health consequences of obesity in youth: childhood predictors of adult disease. Pediatrics, 1998: 101(3 Pt 2), pp. 518-525.
13. Harper, M. G. Childhood obesity: strategies for prevention. Fam Community Health, 2006: 29, pp. 288-298.
14. Stanton, R. A. Nutrition problems in an obesogenic environment. Med J Aust, 2006: 184, pp. 76-79.
15. Ebbeling, C. B., D. B. Pawlak, & D. S. Ludwig. Childhood obesity: public-health crisis, common sense cure. Lancet, 2002: 360, pp. 473-482.
16. Pearce, A., C. Kirk, S. Cummins, M. Collins, D. Elliman, A. M. Connolly, et al. Gaining children’s perspectives: A multiple method approach to explore environmental influences on healthy eating and physical activity. Health & Place, 2009: 15(2), pp. 614-621.
17. Brown, T. & C. Summerbell. Systematic review of school-based interventions that focus on changing dietary intake and physical activity levels to prevent childhood obesity: an update to the obesity guidance produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence. Obesity Reviews, 2008: 10(1), pp. 110-114.
18. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Overweight and Obesity [online]. [Accessed 23rd January, 2009]. 2008. Available from the World Wide Web: <http://www.cdc.gov/NCCDPHP/DNPA/obesity/ childhood/index.htm>
19. Thompson, J & M. Manore, eds. Nutrition and Physical Activity: Keys to Good Health. In Nutrition: An Applied Approach. California: Pearson, 2005, pp. 419-453.
20. United States Department of Agriculture. MyPyramid.gov: For Kids. [Accessed 29th May, 2009]. 2009. Available from the World Wide Web: <http://www.mypyramid.gov/kids/>