Childhood Obesity Essay
Obesity can be defined as the condition in which the body is characterized with excess fat by a body mass index of 30+ (Snell, et al, 2007). It is often characterized to have a genetic link i. e. it is a hereditary disease (Carol Torgan, 2002). However, families have common dietary, physical exercise, attitude and other lifestyle habits, which normally are the contributing factors to obesity. These factors sometimes are not easily from the purely genetic factors through statistical or diagnostic task.
Albeit obesity is the case of children was once considered as a rare occurrence, it ahs rapidly become an epidemic with medial implications in the United States, as well as other developed states. The number of these obese children is projected to rise even further if stringent measures are not taken to curb this problem. Thus, child obesity is an issue that poses one of the greatest health challenges in the contemporary American society.
The effects it has on a child’s life are generally profound, coupled with the fact that other than having to contend with overweight issues, there are numerous health issues that a child is exposed to. This is in addition to both the social and emotional problems that it creates. Once the children become adults the overweight problem does not seize, it continues and even poses other greater risk to the child in form of such conditions like stroke and heart disease. One of the possible root causes of obesity still remains as over consumption of food.
When children consume too many calories for their energy needs in most cases has resulted in many modern obesity cases. When the children get to eat too much high fat food or the refined sugary foods, research suggests that they always stand a high percentage of becoming obese. According to researchers there are many metabolic as well as digestive disorders that are brought about by over consumption of refined white carbohydrates together with little or no fiber intake (Vincent Iannelli, 2007).
These eating patterns in children are known to interfere with the body metabolic rates thereby causing too much fat storage within their bodies. Some of the related disorders linked to obesity include; insulin resistance, diabetes of type 2 and obesity itself. The effects of all these diseases are still a major concern the world over. Although under these circumstances the diagnosis would reveal that a child has metabolic or even digestive disorder that might be easy to treat parents do have a role to play to ensure that their children are not obese.
The level on number of kids suffering from obesity has reached one that is characterized as an epidemic. Fr instance experts estimate that about fifteen percent (15%) of children are suffering from overweight problems, while another 15% one said to be at high risk of becoming overweight (Vincent 2007). Eventually, about two thirds of these current overweight children would end up as obese adults. Fast food is another risk factor that is characterized as a major contributor to overweight in children. Due to its high calorie as well as its high fat ultra sized meals.
The contribution that the fast foods make toward the excess fat content within the body of the child is enormous (Gary & Juliet, 2005). The excess fat accumulates within the body tissues as well as the high sugar content that would in effect affect the body’s metabolic and digestives rates. Nevertheless, the role played by parents cannot be down played. As much as the manufactures of the fast foods are to partially be blame for this growing problem, the parents too have their tasks cut out for them.
For instance, if they have learned and at least are sensitive enough to know what the effects of the fast foods have on the health of their kids. Parents have the ability to monitor the kind of food that their kids eat. In addition, the kids do not have the money to purchase these fast foods, as well as sensitizing their children’s health (Summerfield, Liane M 2007). Equally, since the dietary habits are common in almost all families it must be that either a child who is getting hooked into the various fast foods could just be picking a habit from his/her parents or from the family.
It is also very hard for young children to pick up eating habits or any dietary habits that his or her parents do not approve of least of all are not practiced with the family. Many children who suffer from obesity and other related health problems often are less active. This may be due to such issue like addiction to television as well as such other activities as video games. When kids stay up all day or all night and on a frequent basis, the chances of them become obese increases. This risk factor is another contributor to obesity.
Due to the inactivity that characterizes sitting down watching TV and the video games. A lot of people including parents have tended to blame the media as a whole laying a blanket condemnation and particularly directed their anger at the people who design the TV and video games programs for the kids. Much as it is admissible that the designers of these programs have a crucial role to play both in ways to help bring down the addiction aspect of the children to their games, and also to help limit the number of children suffering from obesity but with links to video or TV games.
The role played by the media would only be supplementary. The program editors should also at least try to put such warming messages that would forewarn children against the dangers of excessive indulgence and addiction to their games. Once the program editors and the designers of these games have done their part then parents too have the bigger role to play. Another cause of obesity is genetically factors. Obesity as a disease is hereditary and as such runs with the family. A child who has an obese parent or someone in his or her lineage stands high-risk chance of becoming over weight.
The genes from the parents or the grand parents are carried down to the child. However, genetics alone does not cause obesity, this is a condition that is only made possible to affect a child if the child eats excess food. The genetic link only makes it highly likely for the child to become obese. Nevertheless, when the child engages in eating or dietary habits that would make his or her consume large amounts of calories that he or she is not able to expend of in her body system then she will definitely develop obesity.
Dietary habits mostly children’s eating lifestyles have away from the traditional healthy foods that includes fruits, vegetables as well as whole grains to new an to a larger extent, much reliance on fast food, sugary drinks together with processed snack goods as well as many other foods that are high in fat content and sugar. Due to their high gat content and/or high calories while remaining low on fiber content. Eating patterns such as having a meal while listening to radio watching TV, watching video games as well as eating while doing homework have also been identified as risk factors for the causes of obesity.
Another factor which is socio-economic status ahs also been cited as risk factors for the cause of obesity. Families with lower income and with parents who are non-working have been linked to greater calorie intake for activity level. This is because the poor families cannot be able to afford health and low on fat content foods. Laziness Often defined as physical inactivity. The growing popularity among children with computer, television, video games among other activities that are found in electronic media has transformed to a growing sedentary lifestyle for many of the children within the United States of America.
It has been established through research that within the United States alone, children spend a minimum of 3 hours watching TV in a single day. This habit encourages laziness and ensures that the child expends very little of energy that he or she has consumer. Further this habit encourages others acts like snacking. Due its nature, it is high in calories and since the child would spend most of the time sited, fact is she or he will not find time to release the calories consumed Brian Wansink, 2006).
It is estimated that less than half of the children within the united states have parents who do routine physical exercise, and that just one third of children within the united states can access physical education facilities at school on or daily basis. The () busy schedule by parents and constant fears about the safety of their children has made it almost impossibility for kids to engage in any sports or other programs of activity after school, as they have to rush home in time.
If the parents can cut down on the number of hours that children watch TV, video games and play computer games then the risks associated with media would come down as the level of laziness would be eroded if not eradicated. When parents get involved in regular exercises most likely their children too may develop interest and thus burn off excess calories and keep physically fit. The parents should also ensure that their kids are enrolled in schools where they can access physical education facilities regularly as is designed in the curriculum.
If the parents took their time and organized their schedules as well as ensuring safety for their kids so as to allow them ample time to have to engage themselves in after school sports activities. During infancy, parents too can help the cause of preventing obesity through the continued breast feeding of the baby and delaying of the introduction process. Older children can be helped by their parents to develop good dietary habits, by eating healthy, nutritious food while at the same time engaging in regular exercise.
In view of all these factors, from the genetics, environment to the physical activity of the child there is no particular point when the parent does not have role to play to prevent the child from being obese. As such I do believe that all the parents are to be blamed for the problems that obese children have.
1. ^http://www. obesity. org/subs/childhood/prevalence. shtml
2. http://www. ausport. gov. au/aasc/about_aasc/facts. asp
3. Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think (2006), Brian Wansink New York: Bantam-Dell.