Childhood Obesity in the U.S.

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Childhood Obesity
Roseanna Phares
ENG 122 English Composition II
Mr. Kenneth Newton
June 6, 2011

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. “Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled. Approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese.” (CDC, 2011, p.1) There is also a trend seen in the racial and ethnic classification to obese children. “In 2007-2008 the prevalence of adolescent obesity was significantly higher among Mexican-American adolescent boys (26.8%) and non-Hispanic white adolescent black girls (29.2%) compared with non-Hispanic white boys (16.7%) and girls (14.5%).” (Ogden and Carroll, 2010, p.1) So why did childhood obesity suddenly become a problem? Well this is a question that does not have just one simple answer. The etiology of childhood obesity is very complex. The fact is a number of things have changed in the American life since the 1980’s. For example, soft drinks have become the national drink replacing milk and water. The average diet has shifted from natural home-cooked foods to more processed high-calorie, high fat foods. Television, video games, and computers have encouraged more sedentary behavior and less physical activity. In addition people are driving more, have longer commutes, eating in their cars, and doing more drive-thru business.

So why do we care? Well childhood obesity will lead to adult obesity! “More than two thirds of children ten years and older who are obese will become obese adults.” (Miller, Rosenbloom, & Silverstein, 2004, p.1) Obesity predisposes people to more numerous health problems. In fact, : being overweight during childhood and Adolescence significantly increases a child’s risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension respiratory, Orthopedic problems, depression, and type 2 diabetes.” (U.S Department of Health & Human Services, 2002. P.1) these disease are not only harmful for the individual but effect the rising cost of the healthcare nationwide. Childhood obesity is not only unhealthy but not cheap either.

Therefore, several factors have contributed to this public heath epidemic including genetics, nutrition, and unhealthy eating habits, lack of physical activity, and increasing sedentary behavior and the media. By understanding some of the cases of childhood obesity, we can begin to focus on ways to prevent the progression of this terrible disease. So where does the blame fall for this epidemic, genetics, parents, or society? I feel parents are the greatest leading cause of childhood obesity due to the influence they have on their children. My focus of this paper is to illustrate how parental influence or not and exercise have contributed to the prevalence of childhood obesity and how we may help to prevent and slow its progression. Childhood obesity begins with nutritional choices a mother makes even as early as pregnancy. One study found that children who were large for gestational age-at birth “were 2.5 times more likely to be obese in childhood than average size newborns infants.” (Pediatrics week, 2011, p.65) Therefore mothers need to be Practice good weight management via diet and exercise as early as pregnancy to help decrease their child’s risk of childhood obesity. Most obese children become obese adults. “At all ages, the presence of parental obesity at least doubles the risk of a child being overweight as an adult. In fact parental obesity in the mother seems to be the strongest rick factor.” (Bradford, 2009, p.325) Parents are in charge of shopping and preparing food for their children and by not making healthy choices they are contributing to their children’s weight gain. Parent’s food preferences directly shape those of their children. (U.S Deportment of Health & Human services, 2002, p.5) This is especially true for infants and toddlers. The feeding infants and toddlers study (FITS) in 2008. Seventeen percent of infant’s age 6-8...
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