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Rated: E · Editorial · Contest Entry · #1969220
An editorial I wrote on a subject dear to my heart. For Rising to the Challenge Contest.
Childhood obesity is on the rise at an alarming rate, resulting in serious risks to the physical, social, and psychological wellbeing of the affected youth. Perhaps, by comprehending the profundity of the perils that are all too real, we will also begin to understand the need to actively combat this disease by reducing or eliminating the causes and contributors from the lives of children.

On a physical level, a young person affected by significant adiposity is unable to fully participate in many activities in which their non-obese peers can fully enjoy. Activities such as running, climbing, jumping, and others requiring physical exertion can be difficult, if not impossible for the obese child to perform. The decreased ability to take part in physically based activity will likely result in further weight gain.

Additionally, obese youth run a much higher risk for illnesses and other health disorders that can further inhibit their quality of life and longevity. Some of these include, but are not limited to: hypertension, high cholesterol levels, insulin resistance, diabetes, sleep apnea, and adult corpulence. Additionally, many of the physical challenges faced by this group of children can lead to a very grim outlook in the social arena.

The social implications of childhood obesity can cause one to wonder how these stigmatized children can withstand such ill-treatment by others. They endure name calling, bullying, beatings, discrimination, isolation, and a multitude of various other forms of abuse that others feel they have the right to inflict upon those who are different. They suffer mistreatment not only from other children, but from some adults as well. As a result of the stigmatization attached to being overweight, they typically suffer from poor social and emotional development, which can further expose them to abuse and degradation by others.

The adversity suffered by obese children can often result in extreme negative psychological effects. It is no wonder that young people afflicted with obesity tend to suffer from an increased presence of depression and other psychological issues, such as poor self-esteem, loneliness, sadness, anger, abusiveness toward others, thoughts or actions of self-harm, or even suicide. They also tend to be more prone to the use and abuse of illegal substances, such as; alcohol, street drugs and tobacco, than their non-obese peers.

Parents or caregivers of children have the greatest ability and responsibility to make an early, positive impact by teaching good habits, such as a healthy eating and adequate activity. It can be difficult, however, to maintain these positive habits once the child begins to embark on life outside of the home. It is important to remember that the responsibility doesn't rest solely on parents to keep our children healthy. It takes the commitment and caring from all who are involved in the child's life, Including schools, daycare centers, relatives, parents of friends, restaurants and any other places within the community that our children are exposed to.

Keeping our children healthy, trim and active takes the efforts of the entire community. Let's all do our part to help stop this needless and painful epidemic. Check with the CDC (Center for Disease Control) on this topic. You will find a multitude of invaluable information and resources available to you free of charge.

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