ENG 122 English Composition II
Childhood obesity has become a serious health concern in the United States. Obesity rates have doubled in children from the ages of 2 – 11 and tripled in teens ages 12-19 (American Psychological Association 2014). This statement is not surprising considering that the lack of physical activity and unhealthy eating habits together causes childhood obesity, which can be the leading factor in the increase in childhood diabetes. Because the rate of obesity is exploding in the United States there is a rise in type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and elevated cholesterol, which could have significant implications for the life expectancy of obese youths (American Psychological Association 2014).
In the United States childhood obesity is on the rise. More than one in six children are obese, an increase that has tripled since the 1970’s (Frieden, Dietz, & Collins 2010). With the increase of childhood obesity doctors are seeing an increase in childhood diabetes, which would lead us to believe that obesity in children is a major contributor to diabetes. The food industry has contributed to this increase in childhood obesity by increasing portion sizes of unhealthy foods that children are consuming. Fast food restaurants have increased portion sizes to super sizes that are now at least 2 servings or more. Not only have fast food restaurants increased their serving sizes but candy, chips, and soda companies have also increased portion sizes to 2 or more servings per package or container. These companies have gone from serving sizes to doubling the sizes of what a people should be eating, contributing to the obesity epidemic, which is also contributing to the increase in childhood diabetes.
Weight gain is caused by more energy intake (calories) than energy expenditure over a long period of time (Chou, Rashad, & Grossman 2008). This means that children are consuming more food than they are burning because of the lack of vigorous activity. Children are not expending enough energy and need to be outdoors participating in physical activities or at a recreation center engaging in some form of physical activity. This is where parents need to take responsibility for their children and make sure their children or eating healthy meals and controlling their children’s portion sizes when snacking. Parents also need to monitor how much time their children are spending playing video games, socializing on the computer, or watching television and incorporate time for their children to spend performing some form of physical activity. In some communities it is not safe for children to be outside playing. In these cases parents or community leaders need to find safe places for children to engage in physical activities, like a community recreation center.
It is very important for children to engage in physical activity everyday and recent studies have recommend that children should have at least 60 minutes per day of age appropriate of moderate to vigorous physical activity to prevent juvenile obesity (Gutin 2008). In 2007 the national football league (NFL) launched NFL PLAY 60. This is a program to tackle childhood obesity. The program is designed to reach out to children through school programs, community and contest events located in the 32 cities where the NFL teams are located. In this program young people pledge to be active for 60 minutes a day to increase their wellness (PLAY 60 2014). Coaches and players are involved in this program throughout the year and have partnered with Cooper Institute. The Cooper Institute Center is where they focus their research on health and fitness, and has achieved global recognition for its scientific research on exercise and nutrition (Cooper Institute 2014). In the “Play 60” program the Cooper Institute provided 35 schools in the NFL 32 markets with FITNESSGRAMS (FG). FG’s assesses student’s health