Prevention of Childhood Obesity in Families Living in Poverty
Nicholas, Jennifer L.
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Childhood obesity has increased three fold since the 1960's. In the United States, 12.5 million children and teens are affected by obesity. The highest childhood obesity rates are associated with low family incomes and low head of household education. Childhood obesity has both immediate and long-term harmful effects. Obese children are more likely to have hypertension, abnormal glucose tolerance, increased incidence in respiratory illnesses, joint problems, gallstones, fatty liver and psychosocial issues. Current guidelines established by the American Academy of Pediatrics on the assessment, prevention, and treatment of childhood obesity address the recommendations of the problem. However, they do not take into consideration the special circumstances of children living in poverty. Children living in poverty are limited by economic resources, potential unsafe neighborhoods, and genetic predispositions to obesity. This article explores specific interventions that have worked for children living in poverty and applies them to future prevention strategies.