Childhood obesity or, having a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex, is a major problem in the United States. A recent NHANES survey found 16.3% of children and adolescents aged 2–19 years are obese. With obesity resulting in severe health risks for large numbers of children, there is a national health epidemic occurring in the United States for which fast food manufacturers bear an ethical responsibility to help combat.
Obesity can be extremely detrimental to children. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention states obesity is a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, hypertension, dyslipidemia, stroke, liver and gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and respiratory problems, osteoarthritis, and gynecological problems. Obese individuals live significantly shorter lives with lower quality of life than people with normal body weights. Obesity has an especially tragic impact on children who are too unfit to engage in traditional childhood activities such as sports, swimming, hiking, and other traditional American leisure time pursuits. In severe instances, children can not walk from class to class and need special accommodations to finish their days even in elementary school. Understanding the causes of obesity in children and the severity of the obesity epidemic make it clear fast food manufacturers have an ethical responsibility of to help combat the current situation.
Causes and Effects of Childhood Obesity
The cause for childhood obesity is simple and often is the result of a pattern of unhealthy behavior. Prolong periods where caloric intake exceeds expenditure is the one and only cause of all forms of obesity. Medical reasons like thyroid problems and low metabolic levels are underlying factors which may be to blame for some children’s obesity. Patterns of behavior such as unhealthy eating and sedentary lifestyle are common behaviors that cause obesity. Sitting...