Parental Decisions Impact Childhood Obesity
Parental Decisions Impact Childhood Obesity
Society, in general, has drastically changed over the past century. Growth and expansion have paved the way for new technological advances, but not with some downfalls to go along with it. One such downfall of new technology would be the “convenience factor” (convenient stores for junk food, convenient to watch television, play video games, watch a movie, talk or text on a cellular phone as opposed to physical exercise, convenient for parents to stop by fast food as opposed to healthy meals). Lack of parental controls in these areas in conjunction with the “convenience factor” has lead to childhood obesity. This is an increasingly growing disease and will continue to be so if society does not stop being so convenient. The American Society today has become “obesogenic’, characterized by environments that promote increased food intake, unhealthy foods, and physical inactivity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010). People (children and adults) spend more time in front of televisions or computers and less time exercising. We drive a car everywhere we go as opposed to walking or riding a bicycle. Children play more video games instead of playing hide and seek, which requires them to run around, being active and getting exercise. We lead busier lives so time does not allow for spending it in the kitchen preparing healthy meals. Parents live such hectic lifestyles which often lead to dining or getting take out at a fast food restaurant, making them guilty of contributing to childhood obesity. Children with obese parents are likely to follow in their parents footsteps and become obese themselves. Overweight and obesity result from an energy deficiency. This incorporates taking in too much food (too many calories) and lack of exercise; thus defining obesity. The imbalance between calories consumed and calories used can result from the influences and interactions of a number of factors, including genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Studies indicate that certain genetic characteristics may increase an individual's susceptibility to excess body weight. However, this genetic susceptibility may need to exist in conjunction with contributing environmental and behavioral factors (such as a high-calorie food supply and minimal physical activity) to have a significant effect on weight. Genetic factors alone can play a role in specific cases of obesity. The genetic characteristics of the human population have not changed in the last three decades, but the prevalence of obesity has tripled among school-aged children during that time. Because the factors that contribute to childhood obesity interact with each other, it is not possible to specify one behavior as the "cause" of obesity. Behaviors include energy intake, physical activity, and sedentary behavior. Home, child care, school, and community environments can influence children's behaviors related to food intake and physical activity (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2009). Parents in the workplace often lead demanding, hectic lifestyles that have a direct reflection on home life activities. Activities, such as eating habits for their children, are a casualty of their fast-paced environment. Such lifestyles lead to quick unhealthy meals, such as stopping at a fast-food establishment and consuming a high caloric meal. These types of meals are historically unhealthy with no nutritional value. Nutritional items, such as fruits and vegetables, are limited at these types of establishments. Healthy, home cooked meals are not the “normal” routine for parents to provide their children of this era. Time does not allow for parents to prepare healthy, home cooked meals. “The evidence is compelling that the obesity epidemic is largely caused by people’s eating unhealthy food and consuming bigger portion sizes. These unhealthy behaviors are...
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