October 24, 2010
Childhood Obesity: The Role of the Parents
As childhood obesity continues to rise people begin to look for answers. With the finger of blame pointing vehemently about, many theories have come about as to the possible causes. The food industry is at the top of the list of possible villains. The media has also shared in the blame for making our kids fat and lazy. Technology has even been accused of making everyday living too easy for the children of today. While each of these is a factor to be considered in dealing with childhood obesity, none of them can be said to be the true culprit. No, ultimately the finger of blame comes to rest where many refuse to look, on the parents. The role that we, as parents, play is bigger than all other factors combined. It is the responsibility of the parent to ensure that children are educated about proper nutrition and developing a healthy lifestyle. It is equally, if not more, important for the parents to be an example that children can follow when it comes to eating and exercise. Because parents play such a critical role in preventing obesity, they should be at the center of efforts to combat it, (Lindsay, Sussner, Kim, 2006). The purpose of this research paper was to investigate the role of parents in preventing childhood obesity and to determine the effect of parental efforts to combat it. Childhood obesity was very uncommon twenty years ago. Go back a little further and it was almost unheard of. Now, however, it is a problem that affects millions of children all over the world. What was once a rarity has now become an epidemic, and nowhere else is this more obvious than in the United States. In fact, according to a recent study, the number of overweight children has doubled since 1980, and the heaviest children are much heavier by comparison, (Assistant Secretary, 2010). These growing numbers should be cause for concern because as the obesity level increases in kids, so does the likelihood of other diseases and illnesses. If that were not reason enough, then consider the idea of greatly shortened life expectancies for the children of America today. Methods:
The type of research conducted for this paper was secondary in nature. In order to thoroughly investigate the subject, information was gathered and compared from multiple sources. The resources used include: library research, internet research, journal articles and statistical study research. The journal articles proved to be the most useful for the study, as they contained the most relevant information. Of particular use for this paper was an article from the journal, The Future of Children. The article was titled, The Role of Parents in Preventing Childhood Obesity. It was extremely relevant to the topic and lent a good deal of insight and information to the study. Results:
Research has demonstrated a positive relationship between parental influence and obesity rates. Even before birth, aspects of the mother’s pregnancy can put a child at risk for obesity, (Lindsay, Sussner, Kim, 2006.). What the mother eats has a direct affect on the development of the child. Unfavorable conditions in the womb can increase a fetus’s risk of developing metabolic abnormalities in the future. These later complications could range from hypertension to type II diabetes.
Parents also have an important role to play during infancy. During infancy a child is just beginning to establish a foundation for future eating habits. While there is still some debate on the subject, many researchers believe that here is a definite correlation between breastfeeding and obesity. One explanation for this is because it may help infants better regulate their food intake, because they stop eating when they feel full. It has also been suggested that many formulas are more nutrient dense than breast milk, and may...