Essay on Diabetes and Childhood Obesity

Submitted By croussos
Words: 1311
Pages: 6

Childhood Obesity and Diabetes Both childhood obesity and its correlation to early onset diabetes used to be a thing of the past. It is hard to contest that it is problematic, especially amongst the American population. Diabetes and obesity in general are now both considered epidemics and we are seeing more and more young people with weight issues due to poor diets. These two diseases are very preventable and action needs to be taken so that the coming up generation of children and teenagers have a greater knowledge of what harm, being overweight, is doing to their bodies now and in the long run. I will outline for you the measures I believe should be taken to help prevent diabetes and childhood obesity. As Michelle Obama stated at the Let’s Move launch in 2010, “The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake." It is a known fact that diabetes is not a direct result nor is it caused by obesity, rather it is the result of a poor diet lacking “balanced” meals. The first step would be tackling how kids are eating in general. I quoted Michelle Obama above because I strongly believe that the organization of Let’s Move that she has founded is doing great things and will have a significant benefit on the youth of society. With numbers of overweight and obese children getting higher by the day, soon it will not be uncommon for most of these kids to suffer from diabetes at some point in life and also face other serious threats such as high blood pressure, heart disease, asthma, and even cancer. When you think back to a couple decades ago, when most of us were young, do you remember obesity and diet being such a big deal? Probably not. That is because childhood obesity is now and epidemic and the numbers are increasing in more rural areas especially. Statistics show that African American and Hispanic children make up almost 40% of the overweight and obese children. Again looking back, people used to live more active lifestyles that kept their weight in a healthier range and encouraged their children to do the same by walking to and from school, playing sports, taking gym class, playing outdoors, etc. Depending on where you came from, most meals were home cooked and families spent dinner as a time to come together and associate eating with positive experiences. Nowadays, kids live a very different lifestyle where walking places is replaced by cars and buses, gym classes can either be waived or replaced by a lower activity sport, and not as many children are choosing to partake in after school sports and instead spend their time playing video games, watching TV, or surfing the internet. Snacking is also something that is becoming more common and convenience type foods more readily available to people and portion sizes are much bigger than what they used to be. I could go on and on about what I think should be done to help issues I have pointed out above, but I will explain what I think are the most important. As Dr. Northrup said in her video, Your Diet, Your Health, there needs to be a “food-mood” connection so you can decrease the amount of physical food you are taking in and increase your emotional, brain food. This simply means that families need to start valuing meal time, especially dinner, to sit down together, talk and encourage kids to participate in conversation about school, how their day was, and learn to associate happy times with good, wholesome food. I understand that there are a lot of families out there that may only have one parent and some that have to work, but if these parents took a little time to meal plan and either eat with their kids, or set healthy food options aside for them even just for one meal, it would make a difference. This means that parents also need to be educated on what is healthy because part of the problem with the childhood obesity epidemic, is that the parents are enablers; taking their kids through