Does Genetics Affect Childhood Obesity

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What Affects Childhood Obesity More: Genetics or Environment? Shannon Fincher
ENG 122 English Compositions
Prof. Amanda Price
June 27, 2012

Childhood obesity is a major problem in the United States today, but who is the major culprit in contributing to our children’s obesity? Some feel if your parents are fat than you are predestined to be fat. Some say that genetics are your biggest issue and there is no way to fight it. We live in a society where everywhere we look there is a fast food restaurant offering greasy, fried, high calorie food, and you can “supersize” that for just a dollar more. Every time we turn on the television we see another commercial tempting us with food. Society has put food in our faces almost 24/7; it is no wonder that food is what we think about most all the time. I intend to show how our environment contributes more to childhood obesity than genetics. With most mothers working today it is so much more convenient to pick up something on the way home verses cooking a home cooked meal, and fast food is also less expensive. When parents are not making good food choices it sets a bad example for their children. It starts with the parent, we have to instill in our children good eating habits and making healthy choices when it comes to the kind of foods we eat. (Okin, S., 2005, pg.81). Children are also not getting the adequate amount of exercise, with so many video games and television shows targeted toward children, it has made it hard for children to tear away from their cool comfy environment and go outside to play in the hot sun. Our society caters to keeping a child entertained indoors more than outside. “The average child and the average adolescent watch television for 21-23 hours a week. While children watch television they are usually eating snacks. (Smith, J. 1999 p. 87).

To begin this research we need to look at just exactly how obesity is determined in children. In searching through medical information and journals it has been determined just how doctors acquire BMI (Body Mass Index) in children. BMI can also be calculated using kilograms (kg) and meters (m), as well as pounds (lbs) and inches (in): once BMI is calculated, it can then be used to determined if a child is overweight or not, by comparing the BMI with the CDC growth charts (https://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts/,) for children of the same age and sex. Children who have a BMI at 85% are above are considered overweight, children who fall between 85% - 95% are classified as overweight or at risk. (American Academy of Pediatrics, 2003). As I researched newspapers, journals, books and more, I realized just what problem childhood obesity has become. Obesity seems to affect not just one particular age group, but children from ages 2 to 19 years of age. At present, approximately 9 million children over the age of 6 are considered obese, according to national health statistics. (Alpine, D.M., 2012). The children that seem to be most affected are children of lower income families. Children who come from lower income families tend to eat foods that are higher in calories and fat content because this type of food is cheaper to buy.

What has caused the American children to come to this? How have we as a country contributed to this epidemic of obesity? What has parents done to protect their children from this fate? How has society contributed to this problem? To answer these questions it took a lot of digging and investigating, but in my research there is some information that is essential in this process. The cost of food today has ski-rocketed like everything else in our economy today. In Mon County, investigators have been searching in grocery, supermarkets, convenient stores and variety stores to see what types of foods they offered and at what price. They found that healthier foods were higher in cost. Ground beef with 20% fat cost $3.82 at a supermarket, $3.83 at convenience stores. Ground beef with 10% fat was more expensive:...
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