Angela Garcia Ascencio
ENGL 135 Professor Isenhour
Childhood obesity how can we prevent it?
Growing up in a traditional American family, we would eat out at fast food restaurants at least three times a week. I was allowed to choose hamburgers, french fries, pizza, Chinese food, and any type of sugary beverage that my heart desired. It was due to my mother’s lack of nutritional education that she allowed me to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted, as I grew up. Because of this lack of parental guidance and discipline by the time that I was four years old I had already ballooned up to a meaty eighty pounds. At eleven years old, I had reached a scale tipping 258 pounds. Because I was never taught about nutrition, nor limited on unhealthy foods, I have struggled with weight and health issues all of my life. As long as the responsible adults are willing to take the time and effort to prepare nutritious meals and snacks, and make sure the child receives adequate time for physical activities we can stop this deadly epidemic.
There is a difference between a healthy child that is slightly overweight, and an obese child. The CDC defines being overweight as, “having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors” and obesity as, “having excess body fat” (CDC 2014). Children that are slightly overweight do have the possibility of growing into their weight, because of their continuous growth and development, and living as an adult of average weight. Unfortunately, that is not usually the case.
Some people may think that children will eventually grow out of their cute chubby stage. However, right now in the United States, children ranging from the ages of newborn to 19 years old, have a combined childhood obesity rate of 25% (Ogden et al. 2014 para 5). While slightly overweight children can have health issues too, obesity actually can cause major health issues to arise especially in children. The CDC (2014) reports that childhood obesity is not only related to type 2 diabetes but is also, “…associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma”. From the 1980’s to 2012, the rate of childhood obesity has almost tripled in children ages 6-11, and it has more than quadrupled in 12-19 year olds (CDC 2014). It is because of these skyrocketing rates that we need to quickly learn how to take control of this currently uncontrolled epidemic.
Figure 1: Childhood Obesity Percentages per State as of 2011
Figure 1: National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality Child Policy Research Center, and Child and Adolescent Health Measurement Initiative (Ed.).(2007). Childhood Obesity State Report Cards.
Since the children are the future of this nation we need to make sure that they have every advantage to living long and healthy lives. There are many ways for adults to make sure that they provide children with the tools that they will need to live happy, yet healthy lives. If adults would take the time to prepare nutritionally dense, natural, plant based meals, and made sure that all children received adequate physical activity we could eventually stomp out the childhood obesity epidemic. Ludwig (2010) also feels that if parents would change the households’ diet to a more natural one, and include more activities that are fun then childhood obesity “would largely vanish”. In fact, many pediatricians feel that if parents would control their children’s nutritional intake it would not only decrease the amount of children that suffer from obesity, but it could potentially save their lives. Franks et al (2010) found out that obesity was one of the main factors that was, “…strongly associated with increased rates of premature death from