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Childhood Obesity Draft

Tamika Wallace

ENG122: English Composition II (ABD1138C)

October 17, 2011

The Childhood Obesity Problem

Childhood obesity is a serious health and societal issue. Rising at extreme rates, one may call it an epidemic. Childhood obesity increases incidences of mortality later in life, causes asthma and type II diabetes, which was only found in adults. With these ill effects, childhood obesity is an issue that should not be taken lightly. Over the last several years, obesity in children has increased fifty percent per the (as citied with the www.healthopedia.com). While the cause of this is equivocal, and heredity may play a role, there are some contributing factors. The media, parents/caregivers, and schools are major influences which are, to some extent, responsible for this astounding inclination of obesity among children.

Despite steady progress over most of the past century toward ensuring the health of our country’s children, we begin the 21st century with a startling setback— an epidemic of childhood obesity. This epidemic is occurring in boys and girls in all 50 states, in younger children as well as adolescents, across all socioeconomic strata, and among all ethnic groups— though specific subgroups, including African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, are disproportionately affected. At a time when we have learned that excess weight has significant and troublesome health consequences, we nevertheless see our population, in general, and our children, in particular, gaining weight to a dangerous degree and at an alarming rate. The increasing prevalence of childhood obesity 1 throughout the United States has led policy makers to rank it as a critical public health threat. Over the past three decades, its rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged 2 to 5 years and adolescents aged 12 to 19 years, and it has more than tripled for children aged 6 to 11 years. At present, approximately nine million children over 6 years of age are considered obese. (as citied in the Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance 2005)

Obesity rates have increased sharply in the United States over the past several years, and today, nearly one-third of children and adolescents are overweight or obese (as citied in SHPPS 2006). These children are developing “adult” diseases, such as type 2 diabetes and hypertension, and are at increased risk for heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer and other serious chronic conditions. Primary prevention is not an option for many children who are already overweight. Research on successful interventions for children who are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight is extremely important to effectively reduce childhood obesity in this country. However the fundamentals are clear, to stay healthy, eat a balanced diet and devote adequate time to physical activity. Childhood obesity in America is a growing disease that has become an epidemic that has lasting psychological effects, because of advertisement of fast food, lack of physical activities, and parental control, which has made food become a major health issue in many young teenagers’ lives today.

The nation’s growing recognition of the obesity crisis as a major health concern for its children and youth has led to an array of diverse efforts aimed at increasing physical activity and promoting healthful eating. These efforts, however, generally remain fragmented and are implemented on a small-scale. Furthermore, there is a lack of systematic tracking and evaluation of childhood obesity prevention interventions. Compared with the strong commitment and heavy infusion of governmental and private-sector resources to other major public health concerns, such as an impending infectious disease outbreak or bioterrorism, there is a marked underinvestment in the prevention of childhood obesity...
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