Sedentariness & Obesity

It comes as no surprise that obesity is more prevalent now than ever before in human history.   The creation of larger cars, wider seats in public facilities and the massive food portions seen at restaurants indicate that everyone is starting to take notice of the fact that our average size has increased. Though the actual numbers vary significantly between different parts of the world, it is safe to assume that North American’s are steadily becoming more overweight and obese.     Obesity is classified by a BMI of 30 or higher and affects approximately 300 million worldwide. (WHO, 2010). Obesity poses more significant health risks than simply being overweight and can lead to a wide spectrum of health conditions such as Type II diabetes, elevated blood pressure and cholesterol and heart disease. Obesity is associated with earlier death, and overall higher rates of myocardial infarctions (heart attacks) as well as many types of cancer (Dietz, 1998).   Though obesity is linked to health complications in both adults and children, this paper will focus on the main contributors of childhood obesity. The children facing the obesity epidemic today will become the adults of tomorrow and therefore it is increasingly important to address the etiology and pathology of the widespread childhood obesity epidemic. Sedentariness, nutritional factors and medical/genetic malfunctions, and the means by which they affect obesity, will be discussed in this paper. Obesity is a health condition brought on by the synthesis of many factors and sedentariness plays a large role but is not the sole cause of the current childhood obesity epidemic.

Sedentariness and Obesity:
Obesity rates in children have almost tripled in the last 25 years (WHO, 2010). Though sedentariness is not the only reason for this, it is a very significant part of the obesity epidemic. There has been a recent global shift to a more sedentary lifestyle with the advent of “mechanized transport and labour-saving...