Essay on childhood obesity

Submitted By cgalexandra36
Words: 908
Pages: 4

Psy 241-803

Childhood Obesity Did you know that in today’s society obesity is threatening the health of not only adults but of our future, our children? “For the first time in U.S. history our children’s lifespan is shorter than their parents” (Olshansky SJ, Passaro DJ, Hershow RC, et al, 2005). Obesity is increased body weight caused by excessive accumulation of fat. This is an ongoing issue that has intended to be corrected for several decades. There are many problems that can lead to childhood obesity; environmental issues, culture, and stress. “Today 32 percent of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight , and 11 percent are obese” (Ogden, Carroll, & Flegal. 2008; Shields, 2005). Understanding the challenges of daily life among young children, addressing the issues contributing to these factors and treating the problem is the prevention of obesity. Statistics on childhood obesity show that a large number of children in the United States are either suspect of becoming obese or already are obese now. “Obesity is measured by being greater than 20% increase over healthy weight” (Ogden, Carroll, & Flegal. 2008; Shields, 2005). In present day 1 in every 6 children are at risk from becoming obese. This high number of children who suffer from obesity is cause for intervention. “Obesity is usually caused by both genetic predisposition and environmental factors, as well as dietary and physical activity factors” (Koplan JP, Liverman CT, Kraak VI, 2005). More than 80% of children who are obese will become overweight adults. Most of these children will experience lifelong health issues due to not correcting this problem. Many of them will not live as long as they would have had they received help to regain a healthy lifestyle. Many cultural and environmental factors are associated with childhood obesity including eating behaviors, family interactions, parenting styles, prenatal environment, and overall family activity factors. “Families who consume more fried food and soft drinks and less fruits, vegetables are at risk due to increased calorie intake among children. Families who consume more saturated fat and trans fats and less calcium, iron, vitamins and fibers are also at risk.” (Carruth BR, Skinner JD, 2001). If the adults in a family have a disengaged or permissive parenting style and allow the children to eat what they want when they want it could cause a child to be at risk for becoming obese. “Depending on the developmental stage of the child prenatal environments can contribute to childhood obesity. If the mother has diabetes mellitus it will increase the infant’s risk of having diabetes and obesity.” (Dabelea D, Pettitt DJ, 2001). Childhood obesity can directly be correlated to family activity factors. Families who are very active on weekends and the children play sports and have after school activities are less likely to become obese. Childhood obesity in the United States can be improved if we all work together to make the issue better not worse. There are several ways our communities can contribute to this issue. “We can support healthy school nutrition by providing student with healthy and appealing food and beverages. Develop more after school activity programs that are new and fun for children to want to do them. Increase access to free drinking water and limiting access to drinks with added sugar in schools. Creating and maintaining safe neighborhoods for physical activity and improving access to parks and playgrounds” (Saludable Omaha, 2011-2012). Parents can help this issue by limiting media time for kids whether at home, school, or child care; visiting their child care center to see if it serves healthy foods, drinks, and encourages physical activity and