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Shalon Corrigan

Obesity and Malnutrition-A Growing Problem

By Shalon Corrigan, sophomore communication arts major

According to the U.S Department of Human and Health Services, more than 9 million children between the ages of 6 – 19 are overweight or obese. That means 32 percent of children are in danger of dealing with health-related complications like diabetes, sleep apnea, and hypertension all before they get their drivers license.

In Pennsylvania alone, 28.6 percent of kids are obese, and in Lackawanna County 25.6 percent of kids are obese.

Childhood obesity has more than doubled for preschool children 2 – 5 years old and adolescents 12 – 19. It has more than tripled for children aged 6 – 11 years, according to for Disease and Control Prevention Center.

Almost 14 million children in the United States are hungry. Many families can’t afford to buy healthy and nutritious food. Some families are so neglectful that they feed their children little if anything at all.

Renee Iezzi, school nurse at Dunmore Elementary Center, says that over the past five years obesity in the district has doubled.

“Kids are rushed in the morning; the first thing they grab is junk. They don’t know how to eat healthy,” said Iezzi.

According to DCPC childhood obesity causes many health risks, such as, heart disease, diabetes, low self-esteem and depression. Another serious risk to obesity is bullying.

According to University Health Center, children are eating a lot of junk food that leads to both obesity and malnutrition. Children who have a poor family life have a better chance of picking up stressful eating habits. Stressful eating is a coping mechanism when dealing with negative emotions.

Overweight kids are often malnourished. Someone can become malnourished for reasons that have nothing to do with hunger. People who have plenty to eat may still be malnourished if they don’t eat food that provides the right nutrients, vitamins, and minerals, reported Obesity America.

According to University Health Center, children are eating a lot of junk food that leads to both obesity and malnutrition. Children who have a poor family life have a better chance of picking up stressful eating habits. Stressful eating is a coping mechanism when dealing with negative emotions.

These cravings can happen daily and are a risk to obesity and malnourishment.

Women and children are the most affected groups of malnutrition, according to World Food Programme. There are 13.5 million children affected by malnutrition in America. Child malnutrition can cause seizures, bone disease, reproductive problems and the worst; death. More than half of child death is caused by malnutrition, according to DCPC.

Molly McAuliffe, a gym teacher at Dunmore Elementary Center, said she believes that students who are malnourished lack focus and energy.

“Kids who are hungry are going to be paying more attention to their stomach rather than their schooling,” said McAuliffe.

“People aren’t proactive, they’re reactive,” said Iezzi. “People need to fight the problem before it starts.”

Hear more from Renee Iezzi, School Nurse at Dunmore Elementary, about obesity and malnutrition.

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