Childhood Obesity in America

Definition of the Problem

Obesity is a health condition where a person is grossly fat or overweight. Its most basic definition refers to a condition where a person has too much fat. Obesity is a common problem in many developed countries. However, childhood obesity in America is a huge health problem because its prevalence has doubled in the past three decades. The CDC (2015) estimates that 17% of children aged from 2-19 years are obese. Statistics also show that there is an 8% prevalence of obesity among children aged between two and five years. Its prevalence among children aged six and 11 years is 18% (CDC, 2015). This number increases as children grow older because experts estimate that the rate of obesity among children aged 12-19 years is 21% (CDC, 2015). Recent research reveals that the prevalence of obesity in America follows education, racial and income patterns with high prevalence of obesity reported among low-income families, minorities, and poorly educated people (Bagchi, 2010).

Justification of the Problem

It is important to consider childhood obesity as an urgent public health problem because it has many negative health effects on its victims. Indeed, as Bagchi (2010) says, obesity has several immediate and long-term effects on its victims and their families. For example, obesity increases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and high blood pressure (Bagchi, 2010; CDC, 2015). A survey of the risk factors facing obese children, aged 5-17 years, affirmed these findings after revealing that this population group suffered at least one risk factor of developing cardiovascular diseases in their lifetime (Bagchi, 2010). The same study revealed that obese children suffered a high risk of developing diabetes in their lifetime. Their risk of developing joints and bone problems also increase in the same way. These effects also spill over to their social and psychological development because research has affirmed that such children also suffer from stigmatization and poor self-esteem because of being overweight (Bagchi, 2010). A long-term effect of obesity on these children is their predisposition to becoming obese adults. If they become so, they similarly suffer from increased risks of developing heart diseases, diabetes, and different types of cancers. A study by Bagchi (2010) revealed that most children who were obese at two years were likely to suffer from the same condition in their adult lives.

Resolving the Issue

Tackling obesity as a public health issue mainly depends on the potential for public health officials to implement prevention health programs. Such programs should center on promoting health lifestyle habits and increasing the rate of physical activities among adolescents and children. Public health officials could introduce such programs in schools because this is where many children spend most of their time (Florida Health, 2015). However, the success of such an intervention would depend on the understanding that its adoption is subject to several societal, family, personal, environmental and economic factors (Florida Health, 2015). Some of these issues may be impediments to the adoption of sound health practices. To overcome them, it is pertinent for public health officials to seek partnerships with other members of the society, including religious organizations, government, agencies, media and similar stakeholders (Florida Health, 2015).


Bagchi, D. (2010). Global Perspectives on Childhood Obesity: Current Status, Consequences and Prevention. New York, NY: Academic Press.

CDC. (2015). Childhood Obesity Facts. Web.

Florida Health. (2015). Healthy Weight. Web.

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NursingBird. "Childhood Obesity in America." January 3, 2023.