Childhood Obesity

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Preventing Childhood Obesity as a Parent
George Yang
Ashford University
English 122:
English Composition II
Professor Janelle Jalbert
01/10/2011

In today's society, childhood obesity is considered a serious public health issue and can be classified as an epidemic. In the United States alone, one in seven children ages 6-17 are considered to be obese. In the last 40 years in the United States the rate of childhood obesity has tripled. The main reason why childhood obesity has become such a serious issue is because children now days live more sedentary lifestyles. Children now days are bombarded with television advertisements urging them to eat foods high in fat and calories while staying inside and playing video games or watching television. Childhood obesity does not only affect children in childhood but can cause a list of health issues in their adult lives also. When it comes to education regarding childhood obesity, the responsibility needs to be addressed by the parents, schools and the media.

In the following paper, I am going to explain how childhood obesity can be controlled at home by the parents. Everything can be learned at home and applied to everyday life. I am going to give a brief overview of what the problems associated with childhood obesity are and what are the main contributing factors. I will show also show the long term effects of the issue and how it can also be addressed by the parents. Childhood obesity is costing the United States millions of dollars I health care expenses. In my opinion, I feel that this can be diverted by simple education from the parents.

According to the article Facts about Childhood Obesity and Over-weightiness, obese children are statistically not active and consume diets that are high in fat. Most physicians use what they call a Body Mass Index Scale (BMI) to calculate how overweight a child is. Children who are over a 30 when it comes to BMI are considered obese. In order to calculate a person including a child’s BMI, you would have to divide their weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters (Mokdad,). When it comes to weight gain among children, you have to factor in many things such poor dietary habits, genetic makeup, family lifestyle, socioeconomic status and a child's ethnicity. Obesity is more prevalent among Hispanic, African-American and American Indian children, particularly girls (Mayohealth.org).

When it comes to children who suffer from obesity most are not overeaters. The main cause of their weight gain is that the majority of the foods they consume contain high amounts of calories. When it comes to consuming excess calories, just an additional 200 calories a day can cause excess weight gain in children and add up to half a pound of fat a week. Although foods high in calories are partially to blame, soft drinks and fruit flavored beverages with high levels of sugar content also are a main cause of weight gain in children. In a recent study, it shows the average teenager in the United States today consumes an average of 65 gallons of sugary soft drinks annually. The number is doubled in elementary school age children and the number in general has tripled in the past two decades.

When it comes to the issue of childhood obesity, diet is not the only factor contributing to the problem. Many physicians and child psychologist also blame the increase television viewing and a child’s more sedentary lifestyle. When it comes to watching television it does not require a large expenditure of energy and is usually accompanied by high-calorie foods. The American Heart Association reports that on average, a child watches a total of 17 hours of television a week. This report does not include the time spent playing both video and computer games. In one study performed by the American Heart Association, they found that a child who watches more than five hours of television a day have a greater risk of weight gain than...
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