Parent's Role in Preventing Child Obesity

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Parent’s Role in Preventing Child Obesity
Stacey Rainwater
October 4, 2010

Parent’s Role in Preventing Child Obesity
Sadly, child obesity has become one of the major health problems world wide. As I began my research, there was no doubt in my mind that proving the parent’s lack of taking responsibility for the health of their children was going to be an easy point to prove. As I dug deeper and deeper, I found that I was quite wrong, and that it is unfair to place blame on the parents alone when there are so many other factors that have to be considered first. There have been actual cases, that will be mentioned later in this paper, where parents have been charged with felony charges and faced up to 15 years behind bars before authorities even considered the possibilities that there could be health issues within the individual that suffers from obesity that are beyond the control of the parents or the child. (Dolgoff 2010). Is breaking up a family, or parents being sentenced to prison the answer to solving the growing problem of child obesity? I think not.

March 23-A South Carolina woman was charged with 2 felony charges of neglect as her 14 year old reached an outrageous weight of 555lbs. (Dolgoff 2010). My first initial response to that was to immediately blame the mother and father allowing this to happen. Apparently, it was the same initial thought of authorities as well. Who’s to say that this 14 year old did not have other health issues leading to being obese?

Where do we draw the line when it comes to charging the parents for neglect when there could actually be an unknown genetic abnormality within an individual? Some individuals are deficient (or resistant to) the effects of a protein called leptin. Leptin is what tells our brain that we are full and no longer need to eat. (Dolgoff 2010). It has been shown in studies with mice that when having such deficiency, it is possible to never have the feeling of “being full” and always remain hungry resulting in overeating and in turn becoming obese. How is it possible to place blame on one’s parents before knowing for sure that a child does not suffer from this genetic abnormality?

I feel that the topic I have researched is so important because of the number of children growing up with low self-esteem, children who are picked on, and judged by their peers, suffer from isolation, low school attendance, along with the dangers of future health problems. In my research, I give examples of why it is or is not fair to place blame on parents of obese children, especially when it comes to children that attend school daily. Although it is the parents’ obligation to see that they are meeting the needs of their child’s nutritional intake in the home, it is out of their control as to what they are eating outside of the home. How is a parent to know that the money that is sent with their child to buy a turkey sandwich is not spent buying ice cream and a soda instead? It is easy for a child that goes to school every day to have access to food that can be a factor in their weight gain, but if a child has not grown up with junk food readily available on a daily basis in the home (since birth), it is not likely for that child to crave or desire the junk food away from the home. Below are a few important, simple, yet so significant things that were listed by several of the researchers that parents can do to prevent their child from becoming overweight: * Pay attention to your child. Show them that you care and let them know that they are important. (Lissau I, Sorensen 1994). * Don’t use food as a comfort measure. (Burch H. 1973). * Don’t closely monitor the amounts your child eats ornag your child to eat at mealtime. This can interfere with your child’s response to hunger and feeling full. The two most important basis for healthy eating behaviors. * Don’t focus on the weight. Instead, focus on healthy living: good eating habits physical...
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