Child Obesity in the Us

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FEBRUARY 12, 2011

I. Introduction
A. Thesis Statement
II. Healthier Lifestyle
A. Health issue statistics
B. Food choices
C. Let’s get Physical
III. Nature vs. Nurture
A. Blame it on genetics?

Child Obesity in the United States
Over the years, childhood obesity has doubled from 1976 to present day in the United States. The steadily rising number of children that are part of this equation is shocking. During my study, the importance of proper nutrition and physical activity plays a vital role in controlling this ongoing epidemic. The overall purpose of this research study is to see that children and young adults are educated on the importance of proper nutrition and the impact it can lead in their overall health. This possible trend we are facing in the United States is not easily determined as to whether it is nature or nurture that has a dominant influence. The outcome of this research will hopefully better assist families in providing healthier meal choices and encourage them to become more involved with their children’s learning as well as partaking in more physical activities with their children.

Maintaining a healthy weight goes hand in hand with proper nutrition and of course, more exercise. Most children cannot make healthy food choices alone; therefore parents need to take the initiative in helping them understand the difference between healthy snacks versus unhealthy snacks. If parents became more proactive in the decision making and showing their children eating vegetables are good and nutritious fun, the statistics would not be consistently rising each year. After all, did Popeye ever go a day without fueling up on spinach? The importance of weight management will ultimately lower the risk of children developing the following conditions that can become life threatening (The Endocrine Society. (n.d.), Understanding Obesity para.18,19): * Child diabetes (Type 2)

* Lung and liver complications

* Respiratory problems
* Heart conditions
Nearly 40% of children in the United States are obese. An average of one-third of children born in 2000 will develop obesity-related diabetes (The Endocrine Society. (n.d.) Understanding Obesity. Retrieved from Obesity In, I had designed a chart using data that I had collected from in an email from the Center of Disease Control demonstrating the increasing percentage of obesity in children from 1976 to 2006.

During this research, it is also estimated that one-third of children in the United States from ages 4 to 19 eat fast food daily. The giant fast food chain McDonald’s, has tried to change their Happy Meal menu to include a fruit or vegetable instead of fries. According to Emily Bryson York of the Chicago Tribune, parents and children rebelled when McDonald’s was attempting to make their snack meals healthier for children. (2011 July 26, York, Emily Bryson, Chicago Tribune). How does a six-year old rebel against this decision? The influence from parents is crucial when it comes to healthy meal choices. During the interview that Ms. York conducted with McDonald’s spokesperson, Danya Proud, she quoted: “We know we’re a leader and we know we need to be part of the solution. But we can’t be looked at as providing the only solution.” (York, Emily Bryson, 2011, Chicago Tribune. para.4).

Back in 2006, McDonald’s did offer a fruit option that consisted of apple slices accompanied with caramel sauce opposed to fries. As a result since, about 88 percent of customers were aware of the fruit option, however only 12 percent of Happy Meals are ordered with apples instead of fries. The study shows that it is apparent that parents are making unhealthy food decisions for their children when ordering take out meals. The good...
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