Childhood obesity has become such a national concern that even the First Lady Michelle Obama has developed a program to solve the epidemic within this generation. It is often debated if parents should solely be the ones to shape and supervise their children’s dietary practices, physical activity, sedentary behaviors, and ultimately their weight status in many ways. When this topic was initially selected, there were people in the class that took major offense. How could someone have the nerve to speak such atrocious words to parents? There was one who even pleaded that the subject be changed. Against their requests this paper will thoroughly support the argument and show why it is very accurate to place most of the blame on the parents of these children.
To be listed as overweight or obese there are certain guidelines that a child has to meet. To many, these rules are considered provocative due the fact children are constantly growing so it is hard to decide where the spectrum for the growth spurt begins and where just being fat ends. To measure where a child falls on the scale, the body mass index (BMI) has to be taken. Anderson & Butcher (2006) contend, “BMI above the 85th percentile for a child’s age and sex group is likely to accord with the adult definition of overweight, and a BMI above the 95th percentile is consistent with the adult definition of obese (p. 20).
According to the American Academy of Political and Social Science (2008), “One out of every three children is overweight” (The American Academy of Political and Social Sciences [APSS], p. 2). Shockingly, since 1980 the amount of teenagers who are obese has tripled and the occurrence within the younger age group has more than doubled (HHS, n.d., para 1). The United States Department of Health and Human Services states, “Overweight and obesity in children are significant public health problems in the United States” (The United States Department of Health and Human Services [HHS], n.d.). Anderson and Butcher (2006) report “The increase in childhood obesity over the past several decades, together with the associated health problems and costs, is raising grave concern among health care professionals, policy experts, children’s advocates, and parents”(p. 2).
Lacking is the recognition that there are lasting penalties for being overweight or obese. There is a 70 percent risk of continuing on to be an overweight or obese adult if ever an overweight adolescent and this surges to 80 percent if at least one parent is overweight or obese (HHS, n.d., para. 4). HHS (n.d.) goes on to report, “Obesity in adulthood increases the risk of diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, asthma, arthritis, and a general poor health status” (para. 4). In addition, it is stated by the CDC (n.d.), “Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem(para 2). The healthcare costs related to childhood obesity were assessed at $35 million in 1979-1981; in the following 18 years it soared to by an additional $92 million (HHS, n.d., para. 3).
It should be noted that being overweight or obese during the childhood years, increases the chances of developing disorders during adulthood even if never present as a youth (Daniels, 2006, p. 48). Daniels (2006) affirms “Researchers are only gradually becoming aware of the gravity of the risk that overweight and obesity pose for children’s health” (p. 48). The result shows that there are both immediate dangers related with childhood obesity and the latent risks that overweight children and teenagers will become obese adults and suffer other health problems. Many obesity-related health conditions that at one time only found in adults are now being observed in mounting occurrences in within the youth. Obesity can harm the cardiovascular system and that being