Western Governors University
Child obesity is a social epidemic presenting challenges to the Government, society and the American family today. It crosses a variety of ethnic, geographic, economic and social environments. Obesity is causing an increase strain on the healthcare system, contributing to the $150 billion annual cost of healthcare provided, which is a breakdown of almost 10 percent of the National medical budget. Obesity increases risks for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. (National center for the chronic disease prevention and health promotion, division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity, 2011, p. 1)
“Approximately one in six children are obese in the United States today”. (National center for the chronic disease prevention and health promotion, division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity, 2011, p. 1) “80% of obese adolescents will be obese as adults”. ("Childhood Obesity Prevention," 2014, p. 2) According to a study released January 2014, only “1 in 4 teens are participating in one hour of moderate activity every day”. (Doheny, 2014, para. 1)
“Obesity levels for American Indians and Alaska Natives are increasing. Obesity among children in these ethnic groups showed a rise of about a half percentage point each year from 2003 to 2008. For 2008, obesity was highest among American Indians and Alaska Natives, with 21.2 % being obese. Hispanics were second, with an obesity rate of 18.5%. Whites came in third, with 12.6%. Asian or Pacific Islander had an obesity rate of 12.3 %. Blacks had the lowest obesity rate, at 11.8%. There appears to be a higher incidence of obesity noted across ethnic groups located in the Midwest and South as opposed to the Western and Northeastern states”. (Flaten, 2014, p. 1)
In urban and suburban areas, the development of the environment has created obstacles for children to be physically active. In urban areas, neighborhood crime, unattended dogs, or lack of space, and inadequate lighting can prevent kids from having a protected place to participate in outdoor recreation. Busy traffic, congested road ways and lack of supervision for safety can hinder children from walking or biking to school as a means of daily exercise. (Bishop, Middendorf, Babin, & Tilson, 2005, para. 15)
The social impact of obesity can be cited as evidenced by discrimination against overweight individuals increasing 66 percent over the past decade despite the fact that more adults are becoming overweight. (Neighmond, 2010, p. 1) Alienation, teasing and bullying are on the rise by peers, family members, communities and in some cases even Teachers. (Neighmond, 2010, para. 6)
Eating habits also contribute to obesity. Studies suggest that parental food preferences directly influence and shape those of their children. (Bishop et al., 2005, para. 21) Americans are eating more processed foods, in larger portions, more frequently and passing these habits along to the younger population. Cultural traditions can also influence the food choices and eating habits within a family unit. The consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has decreased. In rural and urban areas these foods are not as readily available. Economically, the cost can be challenging for those watching their spending. Turn out that the diet that is affordable is turning out to be an unhealthy choice. Due to the, “on the go lifestyle”, convenience has become one of the main criteria for American’s food choices today. (Bishop et al., 2005, para. 8) There are inconsistent results showing a definitive connection with high or low income environments and the incidence of obesity, this continues to be studied.
Attitudes about weight may be changing as more and more adults become overweight and obese. There may be a mixture of positive and negative attitudes about being overweight. People who are especially thin may be presumed to