Obesity in Children

Stephen Merrett

Obesity in children.   Could the government do more to prevent it?

Obesity in children is not a new problem.   It is the extent to which it is occurring which is new and disturbing because of the long-term implications of overweight for later health. (Haslam and James 2005).   This report will examine the implications and the consequences that childhood obesity could have on the society and it will look at what the government has done to try and tackle the epidemic and the future strategies to protect public health and the British economy.

Obesity is a term adopted by healthcare professionals to describe people who are very overweight.   In medical terms, obesity is simply defined as a person having an excess amount of adipose or fat tissue.   At the most basic level, obesity is a disease of imbalance, energy in the form of calories entering the body outweighs the energy used and expended by the body.   The term obesity does not simply mean that a person is fat or somewhat overweight.   It means that they are overweight to the extent where many normal activities are more difficult and sometimes impossible and in more severe cases obesity cause many serious health problems.   The most popular tool used to determine if a person is obese is the Body Mass Index (BMI).   The BMI is a unit of a person’s weight that is adjusted for their height, and is thought to be a good estimation of the amount of body fat a person has.   Depending on where the BMI lies, cut-off points for being lean, overweight and obese can be defined.   While the contribution of obesity is increasing mortality risk in adults, there is a growing concern that children will be most affected by this epidemic.   If the rise in obesity continues as projected, the current generation of children will grow up to become the most obese in history.   More importantly, it is expected that today’s youth will be the first to have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

There are significant...