Research Paper

Submitted By BriannaJackson1
Words: 1723
Pages: 7

In her dream, Danielle Puckett is thin and life is better. She isn’t haunted by memories of relentless teasing, and she doesn’t struggle to lose weight, only to gain it back. Danielle Puckett is 5-foot-4-inches, 18 years old and weighs 385 pounds and is constantly fighting high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnea and low self-esteem. (Childhood obesity: A generation at risk) There are many other stories, just like Danielle’s, of kids dealing with childhood obesity and having increased risks of disorders those adults 30 years ago wouldn’t imagine having. So who is to blame for childhood obesity? In a news article by BBC News, “Child Obesity: Why do parents let their kids get fat,” the parents are to blame because they lack education in the types of foods to eat and limit their money to buy healthy foods. (Winterman) They are right to some extent, but the environment is causing parents to be less knowledgeable about nutrition. Childhood obesity has increased due to the unhealthy environment in which many American children are raised and unfortunately like the waistbands of our nation’s children and teenagers, it’s set to get even bigger. The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has increased drastically over the years. According to a study done by the Centers of Disease Control, the percentage of children, aged 6-11 years, and also adolescents, aged 12-19 years, in the United States, who were considered obese increased from 7 percent in 1980 to almost 18 percent in 2010. In the same year it also showed that more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese (Childhood Obesity ) The United States ranks ninth in world for the fattest country, with 74.1 percent of those who are 15 years and older who are considered obese, but our country ranks first in the world for largest percentage of obese or overweight children. In the United States alone 35.9 percent of girls and 35 percent of boys, all aging from 2-19, are overweight or obese. (Streib) Mississippi is ranked as the most obese state in the country. Mississippi has been know to be the fattest state in the country for over three years and among children aged two to five, 14.9 percent were overweight and 13.7 percent were obese. (Mississippi) Along with increased rate of obesity, the amount of physical activity children participate in has decreased and watching television and playing video games have increased. Just like junk food children are consuming more media and advertising than ever before. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, children will spend the equivalent of three school years in front of the television by they time they enter the first grade. (The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity) Children are also strongly influenced by advertisements promoting food and drinks. In the July 2009 study done by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, founded that out of all the food advertisements put on television viewed by children, 97.8 percent were for products high in sugar, fat, or sodium. When a child sees a food advertisement, they believe that there is millions of other kids eating the same food, so they want that food, or when McDonalds advertise the kids’ meals that include a toy to play with, they are going to want the toy. Also parents would want to do anything for their children, so they want to be able to get them whatever they want and when a kid wants some unhealthy kid’s meal, they are going to get it. According to Ryan Jaslow, a CBS News writer, “In the 1950s and ‘60s, the favorite vegetable of children in the United States was spinach. That was because of Popeye. Even then we see marketing having a huge influence, if kids are always getting what they want and getting unhealthy things, that would lead to changes in the brain.” (Jaslow) The media is not the only environmental factor that has increased childhood obesity; there are many dwindling resources that parents cannot control themselves. According to graduate