20 November 2012
Causes Of Childhood Obesity In America
Obesity in children has dramatically increased in the last twenty years, and has become a growing issue in the United States. According to the 1999-2000 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 16 percent of children age 6-19 years are overweight, and another 15 percent are at the risk of becoming overweight or obese. Although specific causes for the increase in prevalence of childhood obesity is not clear, researchers have found distinctive links to nutrition, physical inactivity and environment, as well as parental influences. In addition, food advertising and marketing to children have a profound effect on the type of food they consume (Rahman 49). The major shifts in eating patterns and consumption of food may be correlated with the increase in obesity. Researchers found that 29 to 38 percent of children eat fast food as their primary food source. Because of its convenience, more and more children are eating away from home: it's quick, easy, inexpensive, and on-the-go (Makley). In addition, fast food portions have increased dramatically in the last 20 years. This increase contributes to obesity because the body does not know how to assimilate fast food as nutrients and ends up converting it to fat (Lueke 207). The Bogalusa Heart Study analyzed children's eating patterns between (1973-1994) and discovered that they include, increased eating outside the home and increased snacking. Moreover, these snacks have empty calories which lead to overeating and increased calorie intake (ASPE). The lack of grocery stores in addition to the high cost of healthy food contributes to parents being forced to buy unhealthy foods filled with high calories and saturated fat (Makley). Children who live in urban and suburban areas also have difficulty finding a safe environment for physical activities. The crime rates are usually extremely high, which leads to sedentary...