Unit 9 Project
Raising a family today is no easy feat. Working full time, attending sporting events, grocery shopping and cleaning house can be over whelming. This coupled with trying to make healthy meals and making sure kids get enough exercise, becomes even more difficult. Supermarkets and groceries stores line their shelves with unhealthy food options and price them lower. This creates an easy access of such food and becomes an unraveling thread in the weaves of an already unhealthy nation. Childhood obesity in America is becoming an epidemic. American’s diets consist of sugary drinks and foods and very little exercise. A lot of families cannot afford the healthier food options as fresher foods tend to be pricier. (Center for Disease Control, 2001) Children spend more time now than ever playing video games, chatting on cell phones and watching television. “Kids ages 8 – 18 spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using electronic entertainment.” (CDC, 2012). The huge amount of food advertising on television is influencing children and adults to make poor food choices. The availability and cost effectiveness of fast food in this nation is swaying parents and children to make not so healthy choices. Another contributing factor to children spending so much time indoors is because that in a lot of communities there isn’t many safe places for them to play. (Center for Disease Control, 2012) Children that are overweight are more likely to develop serious health problems such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Another serious medical condition that can develop is Type 2 diabetes. This previously considered an adult disease, has highly increased among overweight children and adolescents. (Marcus & Baron, n. d.). In a recent study, Schwimmer states that obese children rated their quality of life with scores as low as those of cancer patients on chemotherapy. (Schwimmer, 2003).
Prevention of childhood obesity can be started as early as pregnancy. This should be a priority in families today. Good prenatal care, nutrition and education will help in stopping this rise in obesity. Parents should avoid excessive maternal weight gain, possible delay solid foods introduction in infants until after six months of age. Teaching families about creating a healthy lifestyle should be a key component in prenatal care. Providing preschoolers with early experiences with foods and flavors can also help to develop healthy food preferences. Among many other things, it is recommended that aerobic activity like running or brisk walking should make up sixty or more minutes of a child’s daily physical activity. (Deckelbaum & Williams, 2001).
Things that parents can do to help an obese child could be to make sure that he or she knows they are loved no matter what their weight is, and focus on the child’s health and positive qualities. Becoming a good role model for children goes a long way in helping to develop