Childhood Obesity

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Childhood Obesity: Environmental Effects
Darren Thomas
ENG Composition II
Instructor: Angie Temple
March 5, 2012

Childhood Obesity: Environmental Effects
The future of the country is in danger. There is an unseen attack on society that threatens to shorten the lifespan of Americans from all walks of life. No one is exempt. No one is immune. This problem is so real that the first lady of the United States has gotten involved. Childhood obesity in America is growing at an alarming rate. In 2011, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that between years 1980 and 2008, childhood obesity increased tremendously. In children aged 6 to 11 years old, childhood obesity increased from 7% to nearly 20%. Just as astonishing, were the obesity rates for adolescence children during that same period. In adolescent children aged 12 to 19, obesity rates rose from 5% to 18%. That is more than 3 times the rate in almost 30 years (CDC, 2011). Most people understand the concept of obesity. Basically, the amount of calories you consume far outweighs the amount of calories you burn off. Sounds easy, but if that is true, then why are kids these days, which are supposedly stronger and faster than we were at their age, so overweight. Some would argue that genetics is a major reason for childhood obesity. Others would say that it is a socioeconomic problem. Research will show that there are non-medical, self induced environmental factors that contribute to childhood obesity, the immediate and long term effects of childhood obesity and possible solutions to combat childhood obesity and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Our environment has a tremendous effect on the way we see the world. As a child, we are influenced by the actions of our parents. The way we think, act and respond to different situations is a direct reflection of our upbringing. Whether we meet the issues of our life head on or find ways to pacify or postpone stressing situations can play a major role in whether a child may become obese. There a many ways to pacify children in effort to help them cope with stress. One way of pacification is with food. Parents that pacify their children with food can actually enable or promote weight gain. In Doug Millington’s article, 5 Things A Parent Can Do To Prevent Their Teens from Becoming Obese, many parents today use food to pacify their kids. What's worse is that they feed their children unhealthy, processed foods. As a result, children today have poor eating habits (Millington D, 2010 para 8). Enabling parents attempt to aid children with their favorite foods whenever the child is sad or there is a stressful situation as a way of comfort. This is very damaging and renders children virtually defenseless in the fight against childhood obesity. A child might associate pacification with food as the parent’s love therefore, is becomes a trait that they may carry into their adult lives. Pacification may not always be with food. Other ways of pacifying children includes time watching television and playing video games. Recent studies indicated that eating while engaged in activities such as watching television and listening to music increased the amount of food consumed (American Society of Nutrition, 2011 introduction para. 1). Watching television and playing video games can consume a great amount of a child’s time. According to an 1998 article written in JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) by Thomas N. Robinson, MD MPH, U.S. children between the ages of 2 and 17 years, spend an average of more than 3 years of their waking lives watching television, this does not include time playing video games or using a computer. This amount of inactivity can greatly contribute to childhood obesity. Television and video games are static activities and do not assist children with the physical activity they need to stay fit. In order to burn the calories necessary maintain a healthy weight, children need to be active....
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