Along with society’s progress, people have more choices on food. However, not everyone has made the right choice, even if the public to food attention, is shifting “the nature” from “the quality” on. We can see a growing number of children are overweight than other children of the same age, even get obesity. According to the statistics, over 233 million schoolchildren are overweight or obese around the world. if we did not do anything to change this situation, the number of childhood obesity will significantly increase in the near future. Thus, the public should pay more attention on childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity is a complicated issue as well as it is associated with biological, behavioural and environmental factors which proved by evidence. Firstly, mothers’ health can influence how their babies grow and develop. Secondly, cultural norms and behaviours regarding food and physical activity will affect children’s exposure to and attitudes towards healthy lifestyles. Partly due to globalisation, children are growing up in an environment which filling with the factors leading to obesity, such as widely spread of MacDonald and the KFC. This kind of environment will increase their weight in high-income and low-income and middle-income countries as well as socio-economic groups. Rapid urbanisation leads to lack an access to affordable healthy food, and limit opportunities for outdoor sport and physical activity have led to energy imbalance. All of these factors have a more striking influence on childhood overweight status. Thus, many professors are studying in childhood obesity. And the body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) is the most commonly used to measure obesity. It is calculated as a simple ratio of an individual’s height and weight. However, BMI has limitations for children’s weight status, because during the puberty, age-adjustments are blunt and the different rates of maturation are also affected BMI. Therefore, professors came out a new set of growth charts for children and adolescents which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) introduced the clinical use of the body mass index (BMI; in kg/m2) in BMI-for-age charts for young males and females aged 2-20 years old. (Guo et al, 2002)
Childhood obesity does not simply imply that a child is overfed. Micronutrient deficiencies—including of iron and vitamin A—may exist alongside obesity, a product of consuming excess food that lacks the appropriate nutrients. As well obesity is a condition that has a series of serious influences on the physical and the mental health of children. It may frequently cause a wide range of health problems, for example, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, sleep problems, cancers and mental problems such as depressive disorders.
Food insecurity is associated with childhood obesity
In many factors, some have suggested that food insecurity is associated with childhood obesity. In the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI), food security is defined as “the state in which people at all times have physical, social and economic access to sufficient and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs for a healthy and active life.”. By contrast, food insecurity is defined as “limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods and limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.” (Casey et al, 2006). According to studies, many professors state that obesity and food insecurity are co-existing. (Schmeer and Piperata, 2016; Casey et al, 2006). Food insecurity and obesity are related to common socio-economic factors so that it is significant to control potential confounders when examining the relevance of food insecurity with children’s overweight status.
Usually, food security is reported at a household level. Coleman-Jensen et al (2016) claim that till 2015, 12 percent of households with children under 18 years old had a low level of food security, and an additional 5 percent had very high food insecurity levels. In addition, the differences on several aspects will affect food insecurity and childhood obesity. The first, food insecurity is impacted by race. Household food insecurity was prevailing amongst children in households headed by blacks (27 percent) or Hispanics (24 percent), which nearly twice than in those headed by whites (14 percent) in 2015. The second, the family structure also affect it. Until 2015, household food insecurity among children was prevalent in households headed by single women (33 percent) and single men (22 percent), which were significantly higher than in those headed by couples (11 percent). The final aspect is household income. 44 percentage of children in households with annual income below the federal poverty standard were living with food insecurity in 2015.
Household food insecurity can result in lower dietary quality and less variety, both of them can contribute to overweight, and unpredictable availability of food can lead to overeating and overfeeding. Because of household food insecure, it significantly increases a greater risk for being overweight or obesity as well as it may cause more health problems than children who are in food-secure households, for instance, stomach aches, frequent headaches, and colds.
All in all, food insecurity has a strong association with overweight and childhood obesity. To some extent, it can independently increase the risk of children’s overweight status. We need to take measures to alleviate this situation because children are the future of the human society. Therefore, food insecurity also requires different supports from multiple ways. The government can make policies to control this problem and come out funding measures to help those families with lower income which can afford healthier food in daily life. The schools and communities can offer some courses that involve a variety of health-related topics for children and parents. In conclusion, the more opportunities children have sufficient and nutritious food that can meet their dietary needs for a healthy and active life, the healthier they will be. So from now on, change the childhood overweight status and keep our future better.