Increased television viewing and time spent playing computer games corresponds to lower physical activity and energy expenditures and are often coupled with snacking, leading to “a positive energy balance” (Hills et al. , 2007). TV viewing in excess of 5 hours per day was associated with a 530% increased risk of obesity (Philippians et al. , 2005). They further explain that exercise, including weight-bearing activity, aids in the development of the musculoskeletal system, controls weight and reduces body fat, prevents hypertension, reduces stress, depression, and anxiety, increases self-esteem, energy, and quality of sleep.
Childhood obesity not only carries a 70% average risk of becoming an obese adult, but it also places the child at risk of several commoner conditions including diabetes type II (TIMID), cardiovascular disease, hyperventilation’s, hypertension, respiratory disorders including exercise intolerance, asthma, and sleep apneas, chronic inflammation, orthopedic issues, cancer, thrombosis, fatty liver, gastric reflux, polycyclic ovarian syndrome, depression, body image, and self-esteem disorders.
Once termed adult-onset diabetes, TIMID has been redefined to include an ever increasing child population. Much is still unknown about the physiology surrounding TIMID, however one thing that remains known is the relationship between it and obesity. Daniels (2006) states that TIMID has been diagnosed in children as young as 8 years old and results in “increased circulating insulin” which places the child at an increased risk of hypertension and hyperventilation’s.
Hypertension in childhood, as stated by Lump & Spigots (2006), is a precursor to coronary artery disease and is directly related to childhood obesity. Undiagnosed and untreated hypertension places children at an increased risk of seizures, stroke, and congestive heart failure (Lump et al. , 2006). Cost estimates for childhood obesity are widely variant with the CDC (2009) reporting costs for childhood obesity from 1997 to 1999 at $127 million. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2008) estimated that obesity carries a price tag of nearly $100 billion each year.
Levine & Raritan published an article in The Washington Post citing a study by Thomas Reuters who predicted childhood obesity to “add billions of dollars to the U. S. Healthcare bill” and that “treating a child with obesity is three times more costly than treating an average child. ” Additionally, a large portion of obese children, over 4 million or 30%, are reliant on Medicaid for healthcare coverage and are three times more expensive than an average child (Murder & Change, 2005). There are several national, state, and local programs aimed at decreasing the prevalence of childhood obesity.
One such program is the national We Can! Program. Institute (NIL), National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shrives National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute. The program’s aim is to provide families and caregivers with ways to improve their child’s nutrition, increase time spent in motion, and reduce screen time in order to maintain a healthy weight (NIL, n. D. ). Additionally, We Can! Revises physicians and dietitians with resources that enables them to better educate parents and children. This program is an example of a primary prevention because of it’s aim “to help children 8 to 13 years old stay a healthy weight” (NIL, n. D. ) However, it also qualifies as a tertiary level of prevention as it can assist parents and children whom are already overweight or obese. Another national program, called Let’s Move