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Is It Child Obesity or Child Abuse?

By Jennaside Mar 21, 2013 759 Words
Child obesity has been steady on the rise. Is it child obesity or a form of child abuse? There are instances that children become overweight due to health issues, medicines, or genetics. However, more often than not parents are a major contributing factor. Society is in such a rush to get things done in our hectic lives that we tend to shove our kids in front of the television with a fast food, sugary sodas, and fattening snacks. Considering the side effects of obesity, are we being abusive by contributing or even encouraging this kind of eating habit? Statistics show that excessive weight in children and youth is linked to earlier as well as higher death rates when a child reaches adulthood. Former Surgeon General Richard Carmona put it well when he said, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents." According to the CDC obesity rates in 2003–06 showed approximately 17% that’s around 12.5 million children and adolescents between the age of 2 and 19 years old are obese. This is triple the numbers that were observed in 1980. Hispanic males accounted for 40.8 percent of obese and had higher BMI (body mass index) then American Caucasian males. One reason, obesity is abuse is that as parents we have an obligation to protect children to be the decision makers in a child’s life. So when a child starts to show signs of obesity we are obligated to seek medical advice and follow any suggestions, diets, or exercise regiments. Obesity isn't something that has just popped up it is old news. When these suggestions are blatantly ignored, it is then that it becomes abuse. In 2008, the Child Welfare League of America reported that many state courts have expanded their definition of medical neglect to include morbid obesity and then ruled that certain children were victims of neglect because of their obesity. Secondly, obesity is considered abusive is the side effects of obesity now and as adults. Diabetes is a very serious disease. Sometimes children are born with it however; it can be brought on by poor diet and lack of exercise. This means that they will have to prick their finger several times a day to record blood sugar levels. It can lead to the use of Insulin daily just to control it. Diabetes alone has its own side effects exhaustion, poor concentration, amputation, vision loss, gum disease, and kidney failure. How can we know this and not call it abuse. We are guilty more often than not of allowing a child to sit in front of a television, computer, or game system for extended periods of time instead of encouraging more active pass time. We have to take a stand against these bad habits that we created in today’s youth. One way to help is by enrolling them in a sport; take them skating, ride bikes as a family. “It’s certainly easier to start preventing childhood obesity very early on,” said Gillman. “It may be more difficult as kids get older, but we do need to continue making changes throughout their lives.” Lastly, we back up no bullying policies in school however, in a way we are encouraging this negative behavior from peers. When we don’t take a stand and get involved with our children’s lives instead constantly pawning them off to the nearest electronic to keep them content or by handing them T.V. dinners to make the night go easier. Standing by as they balloon up in size knowing that they will be teased, perhaps even physically harmed at school for their size. Impossible to see how any of this can be viewed as simply obesity, this is outright abuse. Society is finally opening its eyes to this epidemic. President Obama’s wife had some strong statements on the subject. “Imagine our kids begging and pleading, throwing tantrums to get you to buy more fruits vegetables and whole grains,” Mrs. Obama said. “So let’s get to work,” she said. “We can make this happen.” Schools are already adapting to new programs that are aimed to cut fat, carbs, and sugar from our youth’s meals. They are now only allowed chocolate milk on Friday’s. Everything is being monitored in the lunchrooms now. It is about time too. So next time someone asks how you feel about child obesity, perhaps the response should be, do you mean child abuse?

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