Childhood Obesity: Neglectful Parenting or Society's Fault

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Emily Adams
Childhood Obesity: Neglectful Parenting or Society’s fault Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat (CDC.gov.). Two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese (CDCP). We are all aware of the raging “Obesity epidemic” that has overcome this country. But, are we fully grasping the impact it has on not only us, but on our on our nation as a whole? The quality of life for this current generation and future generations is on the downfall. Not only is it killing our economy, but imagine it at a personal stand point. Obesity pegs a colossal price on overweight individuals and children. It leads to serious chronic health conditions, sometimes even disability and psychological suffering; now look at it from an obese child’s view point, society thrusts certain stereotypes and puts so much emotional strain on appearances, that in this day and age it’s hard to feel accepted. The pain is only magnified tenfold on an obese child. Let’s ask ourselves, why do children have to go through this pain and suffering? Also, why is it increasing? Why is it that child obesity has increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly twenty percent in 2008 (CDC). Why is it today that seventeen percent of all kids and teens are obese (CDC)? That is triple the rate of one generation ago, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Why is obesity now costing us an astounding $190 billion price tag to the annual national healthcare (Ungar) (Forbes)? So, the real question is why is obesity skyrocketing and why are children getting bigger? Is it society’s fault or is it neglectful parenting? Well, I have three reasons that contribute to why it’s such a rampaging issue. It’s due to the effects of today’s media, culture and lifestyle, and the lack of health education. All of this ties into and correlates the demographics of states as well. This could all change if we concur that this is a dire issue that needs our immediate attention and if we converge to work collectively. If our government enacts certain programs and regulations and if we, as a community and a whole, put more of an emphasis on education on how to live a healthy lifestyle, then it will immensely help reduce the rate of obesity in children and adults.

Obesity’s causes are well known: poor eating choices and insufficient exercise. A major issue that needs to be addressed more clearly is how do we truly tell if someone is obese or if they are just overweight? According to the medical dictionary, over heaviness is being overweight, but when that weight is carried in excess that is obesity (Difference Between.net). However, most of the time, we confuse the difference between being overweight and obese. Above all, there is a fine difference between being overweight and obesity. The term "overweight" simply means being over a weight that is set for your height and bone structure (Houghton). Calculating a person’s BMI (body mass index) determines if someone is overweight or obese. It is a commonly used diagnostic tool to classify people as underweight, normal weight, overweight or obese based on height and weight (Hall). Body mass index (BMI) is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of his or her height. It doesn’t actually measure the percent of body fat, but allows determining a simple numeric measure of one’s body size. On the other hand, it can be somewhat inaccurate due to the weight of one’s muscle structure versus their height, because it can’t tell the difference between muscle and fat. So, for individual results it poses certain issues, but is good for assessing population health risk. That is something that most people don’t know due to the lack of accurate education the public has about health. If they, our government, take the time to educate and...
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