SOCS 325 Childhood Obesity and Climate Change

March 8, 2022
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SOCS 325 Childhood Obesity and Climate Change

SOCS 325 Childhood Obesity and Climate Change

After reading the article U.S. Childhood Obesity and Climate
Change: Moving toward Shared Environmental Health Solutions in Files, students
are assigned to Review, Discover, and Comment on the assigned article using the
PDF accessories Hi-lighter and Add Sticky Note. Students are required to review
each paragraph, to discover the intention of the author’s message, and to
summarize, agree, disagree, respond to, or reflect their personal thoughts and
observations. It is required to hi-light and to add a sticky note for each
identified area of student discovery.

Climate change is combining with Big Food capitalism to spread obesity and undernourishment globally. It’s a doomsday trifecta that experts say is the “greatest threat” to human existence.

The direct fallout of the phenomenon will be on children, who are increasingly growing up undernourished, obese, or both, according to “The Global Syndemic of Obesity, Undernutrition and Climate Change: The Lancet Commission” report released earlier in January.

In India, 38 percent of children under the age of five are too short for their age, indicating chronic undernutrition; 28 percent of children are too thin for their height, 36 percent are underweight and 58 percent have anemia, according to national statistics released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for 2015-16. Childhood undernourishment also increases chances of adult obesity and associated chronic health problems such as cardiovascular issues and diabetes, the report added.

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SOCS 325 Childhood Obesity and Climate Change

SOCS 325 Childhood Obesity and Climate Change

On the other hand, India has the second largest number of overweight and obese children in the world, with a prevalence of 19.3 percent, according to “Epidemiology of childhood overweight & obesity in India: A systematic review” published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. While an increasing number of countries have a rising population of obese and undernourished children, there also exists what doctors call a ‘thin fat child,’ who is simultaneously obese and undernourished.

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With expanded access to junk food, which is replacing healthy, nutritious options in people’s diets, children are increasingly operating without adequate nourishment, while consuming copious amounts of fatty foods. This affects the body mass index of children, who grow up with inadequate muscle mass, due to low intake of protein and other nutrients, but high levels of fat.

“The prevailing business model of large international food and beverage companies that focus on maximising short-term profits leads to overconsumption of nutrient-poor food and beverages in both high-income countries and increasingly in low- and middle-income countries,” said Dr. Richard Horton, editor-in-chief of The Lancet, in a statement released by the organisation. “The coexistence of obesity and stunting in the same children in some countries is an urgent warning signal — both will be exacerbated by climate change.”

At the same time, worsening climate conditions are going to cause “huge upheavals in agriculture, in the microorganisms that will grow in the future; it will affect the viability of healthy food, its nutritious value, its quality and it will get more pricey,” said Dr. Shifalika Goenka, a professor with the Public Health Foundation of India, one of the commissioners of the Lancet report.

Big Food companies are poised to cash in after years of having invested considerable money into influencing the food habits of consumers, and after years of contributing to climate change in their manufacturing practices; mass food production is responsible for 25-30 percent of greenhouse gases, according to the Lancet report.

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