Childhood Obesity: A Problem in Low Income Families
Childhood Obesity: A Problem in Low Income Families.
There are multiple reasons why low income families have children on the verge of obesity. Children with two working parents or with a single parent have limited access to healthy home cooked meals. Parent’s working odd hours in low paying jobs and unable to find the time to cook home cooked meals means children in those low income families are either eating prepackaged meals or eating take out far too often which is unhealthy. The affordability and the accessibility of nutritional foods from grocery stores and unhealthy inexpensive foods from fast food restaurants is just a few examples of why child obesity in low income families is on a rise. Childhood obesity can lead to lifelong eating and health problems. There is also a problem with the lack of physical actives in low income neighborhoods as children often don’t have places to exercise. The epidemic that is childhood obesity in America but especially in low income neighborhoods are a fact that cannot be ignored and must be addressed before these children are effected form lifelong implications. Obesity in children is defined as a Body Mass Index at or above the 95th percentile for children of the same age and sex according to a chart put out by the Center of Disease Control and Prevention. The Center of Disease Control and Prevention (2011) calculates Body Mass Index using a child's weight, height, and age. This is different than calculating a Body Mass Index for adults as age does not matter for adults, only the height and weight. There are many reasons and combinations of reasons why children become obese. Genetics can play a role but childhood obesity is generally caused by a lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns resulting in excess energy intake, or a combination of the two. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Resource). Much of childhood obesity can be prevented and those who already suffer from obesity can make changes to lose weight and be healthy. It is important for at risk children and their parents to understand the severity of the topic of childhood obesity. There are great health risks for those children suffering from obesity. Let’s Move is a government program launched by the first lady, Michelle Obama, as a part of the task force for childhood obesity President Obama had created as talked about on the Let's Move website. On their site there is a list of health issues associated with childhood obesity. Research shows children who are obese can develop heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma, sleep apnea, plus joint problems and back pain from the strain on the body carrying extra weight. There is also mental health to consider for obese children. Depression and social issues are often found in children suffering from obesity (Let’s Move). With rising health care costs, the health issues that children can develop due to childhood obesity can hurt the financial position of the already low income and financially hurting families in America. With the invention of video games, computers, the internet, and television viewing on a rise, it’s no wonder why, President Obama stated on the White House website “Nearly one third of children in America are overweight or obese -- a rate that has tripled in adolescents and more than doubled in younger children since 1980.” This is why childhood obesity is a serious issue that needs to be considered by parents, doctors and teachers. With children being left at home alone after school due to parents having to work multiple low paying jobs in low income neighborhoods, children are not told what not to eat and are not getting exercise. The internet being such an intergraded part of today's life children are often spending much of their free time on the computer rather than playing outside with friends. The lack of exercise is a huge reason why children now are more obese than in...
References: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, April). A Growing Problem. Overweight and Obesity. Retrived from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/problem.html
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011, April). Data and Statistics: Obesity rates among all children in the United States. Overweight and Obesity. Retrived from http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/data.html
Food Research and Action Center
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. (2005, March 9). Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds - Report. Retrieved from http://www.kff.org/entmedia/7251.cfm
Lets Move! (n.d.)
The Urban Institute. (2005, August). Low Income Working Families: Facts and Figures. Retrieved from http://www.urban.org/UploadedPDF/900832.pdf
United States Department of Agriculture Choose My Plate
White House. (2010, February 09) Presidential Memorandum -- Establishing a Task Force on Childhood Obesity. Retrieved from. http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-pressoffice/presidential-memorandum-establishing-a-task-force-childhood-obesity
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