Childhood Obesity Solutions
Cassandra M. Erakovic
University of Victoria
CHILDHOOD OBESITY SOLUTIONS 2
Prevalence of childhood obesity has increased greatly in the recent years, so much so that the number of children considered overweight by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has nearly quadrupled among children aged 6-11 years old (Cawley, Meyerhoefer, and Newhouse, 2007, p.506). Many members of the public, media, and congress have declared childhood obesity as a major public health concern, considering it to be an “important cause and consequence of wider disparities in health” (Freudenberg, Libman, and O’Keefe, 2010). Director of the division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity at the CDC, Dr. William H. Dietz, went as far as to say “This may be the first generation of children that has a lower life span than their parents” (Roberts & Wilson, 2012).
Though it is evident steps are needed to be taken to help protect the health and futures of our youth, those with the most power to actually make a visible, long lasting environmental change are the most reluctant to do so. Policymakers have alternate interests in finances that water down their attempts to take charge. Sadly, often times playing the social problems game takes precedence over the more genuine social problems work. As a Washington Post article so boldly states “In the political arena, one side is winning the war on child obesity. The side with the fattest wallets.” (Roberts & Wilson, 2012)
Proposals that frame childhood obesity as being an inevitable result of increasing environmental surroundings by unhealthful foods are too often neglected by government officials more willing to frame childhood obesity as an individual problem. Indeed it is more convenient to claim providing freedom of choice to individuals who are capable of making their
CHILDHOOD OBESITY SOLUTIONS 3
own decisions, emphasizing self regulation, and freeing themselves of responsibility to their nation to lead in financially beefy actions.
This essay seeks to demonstrate that childhood obesity should no longer be considered an individual cause stemming from lifestyle choices which can be changed through minor solutions such as education in physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, this social problems ownership has become the taken-for-granted frame for this problem (Loseke, 2003, p.69). Childhood obesity really is a social problem which is a direct result from our environment, social structures emphasizing fast, unhealthy, frankly JUNK food which is readily available in any given neighbourhood and continuously marketed through all mediums to increase profits to some select wealthy individuals.
I will stress that the only solutions met by this pressing issue have been solely symbolic solutions which have been prematurely praised as they are false attempts to appear loyal to the public, communities, and school systems, while truly remaining loyal to the corporations, who some may very well be held entirely accountable.
Within this paper the exploration of three chosen symbolic solutions to date will include: American Government’s distribution of the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies for Increasing Physical Activity Among Youth, the national law passing of requiring restaurants with 20 or more chains to provide calorie information on menus and menu boards, and lastly, the enhancement of PE requirements for school aged children.
CHILDHOOD OBESITY SOLUTIONS 4
The distribution of said guidelines is reported to be important by reviewing...