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Obesity Among Native Americans
Memorandum
Obesity among Native Americans has been a contemporary matter of concern in America. This report considers the problem of childhood obesity in the United States, focusing on Native American children. The first section of the paper presents the current problem while demonstrating its significance. The second section highlights the population affected by childhood obesity. The report then describes the history, causes, and consequences of childhood obesity in America. The information presented in the report emphasizes that the increasing prevalence of obesity among children American Indian communities, attached to the difficulties in effectively treating childhood obesity, calls for an urgent need to establish and develop prevention techniques directed to children. To thwart obesity, double actions are necessitated in physical activity as well as nutrition to enable youngsters balance their energy intake and expenditure.

Report
The Significance of the Current
American Indians comprise numerous groups of individuals forming part of the 542 federally renowned tribes in the U.S. (Story et al., 1999). Each of these tribes has its own unique cultural customs and traditions. According to the 2014 census, there are about 5.4 million American Indians and Alaska Natives living in the United States (The U.S. Census Bureau, 2015). The majority of this population comprises the youth and has a medium age of 25 years (Story et al., 1999). It has also been established that the general state of health of American Indians has remained poor as compared with that of the entire population. Research finding also show that the main causes of death among this population have significantly changed over the last four decades (Story et al., 1999). The mortality rate caused by infectious illnesses has considerably reduced from the early 1950s (Schell & Gallo, 2012). On the other hand, deaths related to lifestyle and behavioral factors have been on the increase, with chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus and heart diseases being the main causes of death among American Indians in the United States. These chronic diseases, particularly diabetes mellitus, have been found to have a strong connection with the growing incidences of obesity among Native Americans.
Population Affected by Childhood Obesity
Research findings have established that cases of obesity among the entire United States population have been on the increase. This illness has majorly been common among young population (Schell & Gallo, 2012). Since its prevalence levels are progressively elevating among young American Indians, these youngsters are likely to be extremely affected as adults by deaths related to obesity. Consequently, there is a substantial need to implement programs for obesity prevention directed toward the affected population. American Indian children. According to Schell and Gallo (2012), nearly a third of Native American children in the United States are obese. Similarly, approximately half of the women population in this group can be considered overweight. This excess weight brings about numerous chronic health situations, particularly Type II Diabetes, an epidemic that a majority of members of this population experience during their adolescence.
History, Causes, and Consequences of Childhood Obesity
Historically, it is estimated that childhood obesity rates in the United States have doubled since 1980 (Story et al., 1999). Childhood obesity prevalence has substantially increased across the lines of ethnicity, religion, gender, and socioeconomic factors (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014). This increase in childhood obesity incidences has been seen not only in the United States but also in China, Australia, Germany, and Brazil (Story et al., 1999). The most recent effort in the fight against excess fat and added sugar took place when the Federal Trade Commission initiated hearings regarding childhood obesity and food promotion. The conflict regarding junk food later amplified when obesity was considered an epidemic in various health reports. Story et al. (1999) report that from that moment, the government of the United States has consistently evaluated the issue and supported the global anti-obesity program organized by the World Health Organization.
A majority of health problems that American Indians face relate to obesity. Though the health implications of this tribulation are large, their magnitude greatly varies among the many tribal groups (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014). Although American Indians remain a homogenous group when it comes to health challenges, this population has suffered detrimental consequences from the elevated incidences of obesity. This is because this population consumes their traditional meals that have high fat content. Central or abdominal obesity remains a major and sovereign risk factor for diabetes, hypertension, and impaired glucose tolerance (Young et al., 2000). Apparently, there are limited records on fat distribution among overweight American Indians. Links of central obesity causes have hence remained inconsistent across all risk situations.
The major cause of obesity among American Indian children is the consumption of junk food (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014). Consequently, adopting this line of thought, it is clear that obesity among this children population is purely not food manufacturers’ fault but that of parents. In addition, it has been revealed that these children suffer from obesity since they spend many hours a day seated, either watching television or playing video games. These youngsters feed on traditional foods that have high fat content, increasing the chances of overweight. .
The consequences of childhood obesity include occurrence and earlier initiation of various disease procedures such as asthma, orthopedic problems, type 2 diabetes, depression, hypertension, sleep apnea, and dyslipidemia (Young et al., 2000). These diseases pose various complications to the victims and make their lives uncomfortable. Additionally, overweight children face higher risks of dangerous behaviors as well as poor school performance. The poor performance in schools is usually due to the reduced self-esteem these children develop because of being looked down upon by their peers (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014). Majority of their schoolmates view them as unable to perform academic tasks due to their situation. Moreover, childhood obesity leads to cardiovascular risk factors, particularly, left ventricular hypertrophy (Cobb, Espey, & King, 2014). Furthermore, obese and overweight children usually turn to be obese adults with greater risks of chronic diseases and disability. From a cost stance, an obesity-related diagnosis results in greater use of services and hence higher cost of healthcare (Young et al., 2000). Though costs related to bad labeling of overweight individuals are somewhat difficult to quantify, it has been established that the resultant impaired well-being has a direct effect on and individual and community at large. Generally, childhood obesity may have projected consequences of increased health care cost, reduced quality of life, loss of productivity, and shortened life span.
Overall, the American Indian children are faced with high incidences of obesity among both sexes. The eminent prevalence of Type II Diabetes as well as high levels of related chronic diseases among American Indians validates the adverse effects of obesity among this population (Young et al., 2000). Since physical as well as dietary activities learned at a youthful stage may sneak into later life, establishing healthy patterns at a tender age is vital.
References
Cobb, N., Espey, D., & King, J. (2014). Health behaviors and risk factors among American Indians and Alaska Natives, 2000–2010. American Journal of Public Health, 104(S3), S481-S489.
Schell, L. M., & Gallo, M. V. (2012). Overweight and obesity among North American Indian infants, children, and youth. American Journal of Human Biology, 24(3), 302-313.
Story, M., Evans, M., Fabsitz, R. R., Clay, T. E., Rock, B. H., & Broussard, B. (1999). The epidemic of obesity in American Indian communities and the need for childhood obesity-prevention programs. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 69(4), 747S-754S.
The U.S. Census Bureau. (2015). American Indian and Alaska Native heritage month: November 2015. Suitland, MD: Public Information Office. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/newsroom/facts-for-features/2015/cb15-ff22_AIAN_month.pdf
Young, T. K., Dean, H. J., Flett, B., & Wood-Steiman, P. (2000). Childhood obesity in a population at high risk for type 2 diabetes. The Journal of Pediatrics, 136(3), 365-369.

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