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Eng 112 - the Metabolic Impact of Obesity in Children Caused by Nutrition

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The metabolic impact of obesity in children caused by poor nutrition

Michaela Rozor

Student # 32777104

June 17, 2011

English 112-MA6

Dr. Bettina Stumm

The number of cases of obesity in children has increased drastically in the last two decades reaching epidemic proportions (Philippas and Lo, 2005, p.77). The increased prevalence of obesity is correlated with the increasing incidence of type 2 diabetes mellitus in children (Tamasan et al., 2010, p.278). Charles W. Schmidt (2003) refers to obesity as "a dangerous childhood hazard" because the number of children developing type 2 diabetes mellitus has increased ten times since 1982 (p. A701). Researchers find it hard to show the exact causes and consequences of the high number of cases of obesity in children; however, experts say that the high availability of energy-dense processed foods (high in calories) is the reason for the obesity epidemic (Schmidt, 2003, p.A701). I think prevention is more effective and easier than cure and obesity is not just esthetics, it is a disease. Obesity is the second most preventable cause of illness and death (Schmidt, 2003, p.A706). Also, Niki G. Philippas and Clifford W. Lo (2005) agree that most obese children become obese adults so early diagnosis is important (p.77). The purpose of my research is to show why poor nutrition is the primary risk factor of obesity in children and how obesity affects the metabolism in children causing type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Energy-dense foods such as fast foods are high in salt, sugar and fats (saturated and trans fats) and they are cheap, and so, many children choose to buy this kind of foods and snacks (Schmidt, 2003, p.A705). A child who eats a typical fast food meal that includes hamburger, fries and a soft drink, consumes approximately 1200 calories in one meal, which exceeds half of the daily caloric requirement. Eating more calories and exercising less causes a positive energy balance, which means that the caloric intake is higher than the energy used. For example, an extra 120 calories from a soft drink could cause a 50 kilograms increase in body weight over 10 years (Schmidt, 2003, p.A705). Goutham Rao (2006) agrees that an extra 187 calories per day will be converted to 17 pounds of fat in a year (p.63). Schmidt (2003) states that a serving of soda per day increases the risk of childhood obesity by 60% (p.A705).

A study shows that children who rarely eat their meals at home with their families, consume more fried food and soda, more saturated and trans fat, higher glycemic load (high sugar content) and less fiber and nutrients (Bowman et al., 2004, p.116). A low income also contributes to choosing this energy-dense food because it is a lot cheaper than healthy food (Okie, 2005, p.14). The misconception children and parents have is that feeling fool after a meal means that the body got enough nutrients. Charles W. Schmidt (2003) states that these energy-dense foods cause a rapid increase in blood sugar level, which declines fast due to high levels of insulin released in the blood by the pancreas, stimulating hunger in a short period of time. According to Susan Okie (2005) "insulin is an important hormone that regulates the concentration of blood sugar (glucose)-the body's major source of energy-and directs its use and storage by tissues such as liver and muscle"(p.16). When eating a bag of potato chips, the starch (complex sugar) is broken down into simple sugars that enter the blood and signals a release of insulin, to lower the blood glucose level and store the sugar as a source of energy in the liver and tissues. The extra calories are converted to fat (Rao, 2006, p.31). The higher the blood sugar the more insulin is produced and insulin resistance occurs.

A reason why insulin resistance occurs in obese children is because they develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, which is an accumulation of fat in the liver cells (Crothers, 2009, p.792). Insulin appears not to work effectively when there is a lot of fat around tissues and in the blood. So, even though insulin is still produced it is not as effective. Goutham Rao (2006) suggests that high levels of insulin increase salt retention, which elevates blood pressure; in addition, insulin promotes production of LDL cholesterol (low-density lipoprotein) or "bad" cholesterol, and breakdown of HDL cholesterol (high-density level) or "good" cholesterol leading to

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