When you hear of an ‘epidemic’ what is the first word that comes to mind? Aids? Maybe even poverty? The truth is, experts have realized the United States’ newest epidemic is obesity. This year, thousands of people will die from illnesses that are directly related to obesity. Diabetes, cancer, and heart failure are only a few of the many consequences from those two Big Mac’s you ate last night. Numerous children are victims of these health problems because their parents often provide them with an unhealthy diet. For the first time in history, the youngest generation is presumed to have a shorter life span than their parents. The repercussions of this “national catastrophe” (Levine, Obesity), is putting our population in jeopardy unless aggressive action is taken to reverse the rate of obesity.
Instead of providing a well-balanced nutritious diet and encouraging an active lifestyle, many parents are accepting a fatty and sugary diet. This threat to our generation is becoming a trend in our society. As more American children are exposed to a chronically poor diet with little or no exercise, the more difficult it becomes to reverse the problem. It is a cycle that started before us, with obese parents who give birth to bigger babies. Although most children lose their baby fat throughout the years, it is harder for those who are born larger to drop all the weight. Therefore their health will progressively decline until it is too late for the issue to be addressed. Associate Professor of Ambulatory Care and Prevention at Harvard Medical School firmly states, “So you build it up over generations, you get an intergenerational vicious cycle of obesity and disease.” (Levine, Obesity). Statistics reveal that obesity rates of kids, ages six to nine, have more than tripled in the past decade. A survey conducted by A Portrait of the States and the Nation in 2005 showed that over twenty-eight percent of children ages ten to seventeen are using less than three days a week for physical activity. Parents lack of motivation towards their kids not only reveals an absence of responsibility over their families health, but also knowledge of the negative effects it has on this country’s overall expenses to care for the obese youth.
In addition to the severe health risks, obesity has taken a toll on economic costs that are affecting everyone. The United States is adding billions of dollars to the health care bill every year. Obesity in children is solely