Obesity; a word that has become synonymous with Australia,
and many other developed, and OECD countries. Obesity has reached epidemic
proportions in Australia with 11.2 million adults or 63% of the adult
population, and 1.2 million children or 26% of the child population recording a
Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 25 in 2014/15 (Abs.gov.au, 2015). In world wide
statistics, that now makes Australia the 5th most obese OECD country
in the world (OECD.org, 2017) only behind Hungry, New Zealand, Mexico and the
United States of America.
Childhood obesity and overweight rates have steadily risen
over the past two decades. In 1995 5% of children were obese and 17% were
overweight (Abs.gov.au, 2009), meaning roughly 1 in 5 children had a BMI on or
above the 85th percentile and were considered overweight. Fast
forward twenty years and the percentages have only increased with 7.4% obese
and 20.2% overweight, now making that 1 in 4 children or 27.6% overweight
(Abs.gov.au, 2015). The statistics are only worse for those living in regional
areas with 36% of children aged 2 to 17 considered overweight or obese in
comparison to 25% in major cities (OECD.org, 2017).
Overweight children are at a much higher risk of developing
a variety of health conditions compared to children in a healthy weight range,
with these varying from type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some
cancers (AIHW.gov.au, 2017). These aren’t just limited to physical health
conditions with studies showing that they are at a higher risk of developing psychological
and social problems (Abs.gov.au, 2009).
I will be exploring the cause and effects of childhood obesity,
with particular emphasis on the impacts obesity places on individuals, the
community and the government. I will be addressing the alarming statistics and
the continual rise of obesity, not just in children but in society as a whole.