Rise of Childhood Obesity

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Rise of Childhood Obesity
Cynthia Hobbs
English Composition II (ENG 122)
Amanda Price
November 12, 2012

Rise of Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has become an epidemic; we must address the issue and put a stop to it. I feel that the scope and nature of the problem in regards to childhood obesity begins with the parents and how fast food chains are not to blame. As parents, it is our responsibility to take control of our children’s lifestyle. Parents are just accepting the fact that their children are obese instead of being part of the solution. It is the parent’s responsibility to monitor their child(s) eating habits.

As a mother of two sons who were recently diagnosed obese, I know it is my responsibility to monitor their eating habits and television, computer or video game time. In my opinion the fight to end childhood obesity starts with the parents. Parents must step up and stop blaming fast food chains for the obesity of our children.

Childhood obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma (Let’s Move, 2012). The numbers associated with childhood obesity are staggering. The percentage of children age six to 11 in the United States who were obese increased from seven percent in 1980 to nearly twenty percent. Similarly, the percentage of adolescent’s ages 12 – 19 who were obese increased from five percent to eighteen percent over the same time period (Center for Disease Control, 2012). Due to this growing epidemic on February 9, 2010 the First Lady Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move.

“Obesity is a disease in which a person is at increased risk of unfavorable health outcomes as a result of excess body fat. Many methods have been utilized to classify a person as overweight or obese. These methods include measuring waist circumference, calculating BMI, and assessing skinfold test. Various organizations have advocated different methods of classifying childhood obesity. For example, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the best tool for monitoring weight in children is the BMI, which first calculated based on the child’s weight and height, then plotted according to age and gender. The World Health Organization (WHO) does not state a preference for one method over another, noting that measuring obesity is challenging because there is no standard definition worldwide. Thus, WHO has developed several charts and tables for clinicians to use to assess a child’s weight status. These include weight-for-age, weight-for-height, BMI-for-age, and triceps skinfoldforage, among others. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) uses the same guidelines for BMI-for-age as the CDC to define childhood obesity and states that for children older than two years, BMI is an acceptable measure to assess obesity” (Perpich, K.J, P.A.-C, Russ, R., Rizzolo, D., & Sedrak, M., 2011).

Growth charts from the CDC are used to calculate children’s BMI. Children and adolescents with BMI between the fifth and 85th percentile are considered to be healthy weight. Children in with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentile are generally considered to be overweight, and those with a BMI at or above the sex and age specific 95th percentile of the population growth chart are typically considered obese (Let’s Move 2012). Childhood obesity has many causes. Some causes are age, race, socioeconomic status, culture, income and stress. The most common causes of childhood obesity are over eating...
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