TODAY’S EPIDEMIC IN CHILDHOOD AND ADOLESCENCE: OBESITY
Today, obesity has increased in all age groups and become an important health issue not only in developed countries but in developing countries as well. The World Health Organization reported in 2005 that, childhood obesity has reached worrisome levels. In addition, the rapid increase in childhood obesity rates among Mediterranean countries was found to be remarkable. Obesity in childhood and adolescence causes chronic diseases such as atherosclerotic heart disease, dyslipidemia, type 2 diabetes as well as social and psychological problems. Its prevalence was found to be higher in the low socio-economic class of developed countries and the high socio-economic class of developing countries. Several environmental, psychological and genetic factors are associated with obesity. Eating habits, life style, decreased physical activity is considered to be responsible in rapid increase of childhood obesity rather than genetic factors. Prevention is the most important step in obesity management. The primary goal of management plans should be to promote healthy eating habits and life style. Primary care physicians and health workers have an important responsibility to prevent, detect, and manage obesity in childhood and adolescence. In conclusion, primary care settings should take the necessary steps and advocate in the community to prevent today’s epidemic, childhood and adolescence obesity.