Scientifically, Childhood Obesity is a term used for a very overweight child. That is a child with an excess amount of fat that is 20 percent or more over a person’s ideal body weight but does not include muscle, bone, water or fat. Obesity is usually measured through your Body Mass Index or BMI and is measured using the formula height and weight ratio calculation.
Obesity can relate to much serious health related issues such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Hip and joint problems, and Respiratory problems such as asthma and sleep apnoea and also depression and low self-esteem. It is known one in seven New Zealand children suffer from obesity and that it is increasing.
Results from a National Children’s Nutrition Survey reported that in the year 2000, 14.3% of children within New Zealand were obese. This increased three times more than it was in 1989.
To determine the existence of obesity there are many professionals and doctors that believe Lack of Physical activity and more food intake is a huge part for the cause of obesity. Results from the 2007 and 2008 Active New Zealand Survey released by SPARC showed that adults who, over seven days, achieved less than 30 minutes of moderate- intensity physical activity in total’ were inactive. Only 48.2% of adults achieved the New Zealand Physical Activity Guidelines with at least 30minutes of moderate intensity activity on five or more days of the week.
Childhood obesity and inactivity are significant issues among New Zealand society as they are important components that link to health related problems.
The Ministry of health (MOH, 2005), website states that more than 1,000 New Zealanders die each year from obesity related diseases’ while SPARC (2005) suggests that inactivity is the direct cause of 2,600 deaths every year.
I have also seen the media portray wrong messages that unhealthy foods are good for you through TV advertising and i believe they are a part of how we make choices for food.
There are many reasons for Childhood Obesity and Inactivity in New Zealand. Factors such as Societal, Political, Environmental, Economical, Historical and Culture are accountable for the cause of Childhood Obesity and Inactivity.
There is clearly a problem here and I believe childhood Obesity and inactivity are issues in New Zealand that needs to be taken into concern.
Why Child Obesity does exist?
There are many factors that contribute to childhood obesity coming from a variety of sources. Primarily Society itself plays a huge part in encouraging this problem. An article on “Med India” writes that “eating fast food is no longer a fashion. It is now a necessity. It is the most attractive solution in the fast-paced life as it is inexpensive, tastes good and is made and served fast.” Some Families receive low income and find it difficult to provide for their family therefore they look for a better option and most of the time the best options available is takeaway food industries which are way cheaper and a better fulfilment.
These Convenience and fast foods are becoming increasingly accessible from a number of food outlets in New Zealand on the rise. An example of this is that when McDonalds first opened in New Zealand, New Zealand market had the potential for 50 stores alone and a massive 144 McDonalds nation-wide. There are now plans for 24 hour drive through McDonalds in Auckland in the works and is this the type of accessibility that would encourage healthy food choices? According to the 2006 and 2007 New Zealand Health Survey, “Seven out of ten (70.9%) children had eaten fast food in the past seven days. One in seven (13.6%) had eaten fast food twice in the past seven days and one in 14 (7.2%) had eaten fast food three or more times in the past seven days. This proves to show that the availability and costs of fast food outlets in New Zealand are increasingly shaping the choices of people and what they eat.
Now days the media is becoming a way for food and