Among the major concerns of health, with regard to children is the fact that there are rising numbers of children who are overweight and obese. These are conditions that reduce a child’s agility and also generate other health complications. Since children are involved in it, the need to have the matter looked into should be treated with urgency. Children’s health should be given priority. Studies have shown that the body mass index can be used to determine whether a child is overweight or not. If the child’s BMI falls between the 85 th and 95 th percentile, then they are termed as overweight. Above the 95 th percentile, the child is regarded as obese (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, 2015). This is not healthy as children have actively dividing cells that ensure growth and therefore their growth is complicated by such conditions. This paper looks into various facts about obesity and overweight conditions in children in Illinois state such as the number of children who are faced with these conditions, the comparison of the state with the whole nation, factors contributing to the rise in such cases and the favorable measures being taken to address these conditions so as to protect the children and restore their health.
Research indicates that the population of children with obesity and overweight problems has been on the rise in the past years. The state of Illinois, which is our target study, has been found to rank 42 nd in position among the United States nations that have prevalence in overweight and obese children. This has called for the intervention of organizations such as Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids who have allocated funds to have this reality looked into. Policy makers and interested parties have made laws to combat the situation. There is a policy that refuses foods of low nutritional value in all children centers. This policy is not only in the state of Illinois but also in 11 other states in the United States of America. According to information submitted by the Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System in 2008, 30.0% of children who hail from poor and low-income families were considered overweight or obese, according to BMI standards used in measuring. This was a rise considering in 2006, the survey revealed 29.8%. The study looked into other minor factors such as race, family income, and health insurance. It was discovered that 39.1% of the children of Black, non-Hispanic origin and 55.6% of publicly insured children were overweight or obese. The rate of children between 10 to 17 years who are obese stands at 19.3% (Illinois Department of Public Health, 2016)This is high prevalence with regard to national data on the same.
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The number of overweight and obese children in the state of Illinois when compared to the nation is quite high. These disparities are cause for alarm, especially at a time when the nation is bent on health reforms with attempts to offer better and affordable medical care to all citizens and to promote healthy living and lifestyle habits. The average rate of children aged between 10 and 17 years that suffer the target conditions in Illinois lies at 31.2% whereas, in the nation, it lies at 30.6%. A critical analysis reveals that while 2.18% is the income disparity ratio and 48.4% are totally below the federal poverty line, the nation's rates stand at 22.9% below the poverty line and 39.8% are below the federal poverty line. The high numbers in Illinois statistics are a wake-up call for intervention strategies to be devised so at to look into children's health with the aim of promoting healthy young lives.
The study used the information offered by parents in their reports. These findings can be disputed as inaccurate, but some organizations deem the information as fairly reliable. The situations and conditions that cause the high numbers of obese and overweight children have been a point of inquiry in the study. In the digital era, sedentary activities have overtaken physical play. Children generally engage in playing video games and using the internet. These are highly preferred to physical activities in the playground or outside. Overweight and obese children are often loners and lack functional social skills. The sedentary activities disrupt sleeping routines majorly because they are time consuming and addictive. Children spent less time sleeping and more time on the internet, watching movies or playing Xbox and PS. A rising preference for sedentary play is a significant contributor to obesity and overweight in children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016).
There are also six C’s that contribute to the weight status of a child. The child’s consumption is dependent on the culture, country, community and clan (Dev et al., 2013). Where we come from, and our way of life determines who we become, what we do and how we live our lives. The diet consumed is majorly loaded with calories but is low in nutrients. Fast foods and junk are a trend owing to the busy lifestyle lead by parents thus cannot spare time for healthy nutritional practice. A good majority of the population in Illinois is made up of people of color who reportedly have a bias for ‘soul-food' which is high in calories and fats, owing to the methods of preparation. Other factors that contribute to the large numbers of children who are overweight or obese are inadequate physical activities and medicine use. Some medicines disturb the fat balance and deposition in our bodies hence adding to the weight.
The nation and the state of Illinois have put together intervention strategies to address the issue of overweight and obese children. It is important to note the future of a nation lies in its children thus their health should be prioritized. The state of Illinois recognizes the important role of changing policies to bend towards healthy habits and physical activities while at the same time boosting the community’s access to healthy food and safe opportunities (Illinois Department of Public Health, 2010). First of all, in policy making, there have been attempts to address the matter whereby policies have been placed on low nutritional value foods being used in centers that care for and accommodate children. Organizations such as Social Services Block Grant TANF have stepped in to offer funding for intervention strategies (CWLA, 2016). There have been taxations imposed on snacks and soda so as to reduce their preferred prominence and force the community to resort to healthy foods. Nutritional standards have been set for competitive food products and BMI, and other health information is collected about these foods. Child care licenses demand that all meals and snacks follow the set requirements of a balanced diet and healthy living. All these measures are geared towards countering poor nutrition because this is the lead contributor to obesity and overweight in children.
In conclusion, body mass index is used to determine whether a child is obese or overweight. In the state of Illinois, the number of children suffering from these conditions is on the rise causing alarm on the heath trends of the state. In comparison to the national rates, the rates of the state of Illinois are fairly high. These numbers are reached by the preferred sedentary lifestyles adopted by children and their families, poor nutritional habits, the culture of the community and also medicine use. There is need to promote healthy lifestyle habits so as to counter obesity and overweight children.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2015). BMI for Children and Teens . Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/defining.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Childhood Obesity, Causes, and Consequences . Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/causes.html
Child Welfare League of America. (2016). Illinois’s Children, 2016 . Retrieved from http://www.cwla.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Illinois.pdf
Dev et al. (2013). Risk Factors for Overweight/Obesity in Preschool Children: An Ecological Approach. Child Obesity , 9(5), 399-408. doi: 10.1089/chi.2012.0150
Illinois Department of Public Health. (2010). Obesity Prevention Initiative Act . Retrieved from http://www.childhealthdata.org/docs/nsch-docs/illinois-pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=0
Illinois Department of Public Health. (2016). Chronic Disease Burden Update, 5(2). Retrieved from http://www.childhealthdata.org/docs/nsch-docs/illinois04_23_508-pdf.pdf?sfvrsn=2