February 11, 2015
Issue Analysis #1
A Growing Disease
The leading deaths in the United States include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, and strokes (“Leading Causes of Death”). These diseases are most commonly associated with adults; but we are now seeing these diseases appear more and more in children. Some diseases such as type 2 diabetes are now taking over the lives of the young people in our country. What is the cause of the spreading of diseases throughout young children you might ask? The answer is childhood obesity; and it is taking over our nation and many other nations each and every day. This national and international epidemic of childhood obesity can no longer be ignored. Can we prevent childhood obesity?
Poor diet and lack of exercise are causes of unhealthy weight gain and is responsible for over 300,000 deaths per year (“Obesity”). Children are not at risk of death due to their poor diets until they become adults. According to the American Heart Association about one in three
American children and teens is obese; this is nearly triple the rate from 1963.
The most common causes of obesity according to the American Academy of Child and
Adolescent Psychiatry include genetics, poor diet, overeating or binging, depression, and lack of exercise. Obesity can occur from medical disorders; however less than one percent is caused by physical problems. Genetics can play a huge role in obesity. There is a fifty percent chance that a child will be obese if one of his or her parents is obese. Likewise if two parents of a child are
both obese the child’s chances of becoming obese is eighty percent (“Obesity”).
In order to prevent this epidemic from increasing society needs to take action. First and foremost, the parents of obese children need to be informed on how to prevent their children from becoming obese. One positive way to help your child eat healthier is to encourage good nutrition and be a role model of healthy eating. Provide plenty of fruits and vegetables at your home for you and your family to enjoy. Encourage your child to drink lots of water instead of soda or sugary drinks. Make your child’s favorite dishes more healthy by using lean meat and low fat dairy products. Parents should also encourage their children to have an active lifestyle.
Parents can do this by limiting their children's time watching television and playing video games
(“Childhood Obesity”). Parents can also get their children involved in sports to be more physically active.
Another way our society can overcome childhood obesity is through our school systems.
One obvious way to stop child and teen obesity is to eliminate all vending machines with unhealthy products. Passing by a vending machine is as tempting for children as it is for adults; therefore, to prevent the temptations of eating candy and sugary snacks and drinks school systems need to take out all unhealthy vending machines that are provided to the students and staff at their school.
First Lady, Michelle Obama, started a new trend around the nation that all schools should consider. Mrs. Obama started this new trend by planting gardens in school yards around the country. This helps children to see how locally grown foods are prepared for meals. Another great way to get rid of obesity at schools is providing mini refrigerators in each classroom.
Many parents would send healthy meals to school with their children if the parents knew the
food would stay safe and edible (“Effective”).
Schools not only can help obesity by changing what students eat but also by how active teens and children are. The National Institute of Medicine suggests that children have at least a half hour of physical exercise each day. Research shows that nearly one third of our nation's elementary schools do not