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Obesity in children has become a public moral panic especially in the current era. So to speak, obesity in children is realized when the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the child, exceeds the 95th percentile. In America, the 2006 CDC data report put it that most of the children were either overweight or obese at utmost four years. In line with this, there has been a tendency of the parents to assume that their children “baby fat” will shed off as they grow old. This has in turn made them not to realize that this belief may otherwise be perpetuating obesity in children. For children under the age of four years, 16 percent are obese and 32 percent are overweight in America. This proportion has been growing at a threatening rate and therefore it is prerequisite to make the identification of the “baby fat” and the risk of being obese (O’Callaghan, 2010).
Another point to note is that research has put forward that obesity is more prevalent among children and it was revealed that even at the age of three months children were overweight. In regard to this point, it was therefore made a requirement for parents to be informed on the healthy feeding habits, the existence of obesity in children and strategies as well as methods of preventing it.
Having stated the prevalence of obesity in children, it is important to bring into view some of its causes and the mitigation strategies. In this relation, obesity is as a consequence of excess accumulation of fats in the body. It is realized when more calories are consumed as compared to the expenditure of the same. Again, the intake of much calories in the body coupled with lack physical activity especially among children, provides room for obesity. In the modern times, there has been a rise in the use of fast foods which happens to be rich in fats and sugar. The market is really appealing to children as the target group for most of the food industries. There is availability of fast food everywhere. It has been depicted by sales of ice cream, sweets, chocolate and drinks like soda (Critser, 2003).
Generally, there has been a lot of consumption of junk food as it is subsidized by the government. This has made it cheap and therefore is being consumed by the children. These children tend to spent most of their time watching Televisions and playing computer games. In the process, the television advertisements which target children influence them to buy snacks and in general terms junk food (Parker-Pope, 2010). In schools, children are exposed to such like snacks. On the other hand, most of them are driven to schools and physical activity education has been neglected. In this sense, the children will inevitably grow obese as the much fat and calories they take in is not utilized.
There has been the aspect of people assuming that childhood obesity does not perpetuate in adulthood. Nonetheless, research reveals that childhood obesity actually translates to adult obesity but it is determined by certain factors. As such, they include factors like age of the child and what is defined as obesity at childhood. In most cases, it was noted that most of those who are obese adolescents, end up becoming obese as adults. According to Blue (2008), among the 18 percent American children who are obese, two thirds of them grew obese at adulthood. At the same time, they may not become obese as adults but they may develop heart related diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack and other related diseases. In addition, Diabetes has been pointed out as to be as a result of obesity. Hence, obesity in children is a pandemic that should be addressed and the necessary measures be taken.
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Since America has been pointed out as a nation with a high percentage of morbid obesity, there is an urgent need to address Obesity in children as a pandemic. Most of these children need to be helped in this sense as they are innocent and the need arises to alleviate the danger of obesity. In consistence to this, is essential to review the causes, effects and the extent of obesity and then provide preventive measures and strategies that can help deal with obesity in Children. In America, more than 25 percent of the children up to the age of 19 years are either obese or overweight (Stolberg, 2010).
Obesity has for a long time been associated with the genetic factors as the main cause but for the last 30 years the numbers of obesity cases has doubled. This has led to extensive research in order to establish that which has really changed in the nation. Feeding habits and the kind of food that is being provided for children in the industry has been pointed out as the main cause coupled with lack of physical activity. An increased consumption of junk food and snacks has been noted with a lot of luxury and a tendency to do jobs that less physical (Stolberg, 2010).
This has happened due to the advent of computers, televisions and games that are not physically involving. From this point, of great importance to apply are the prevention measures that can make provision to deal with obesity in children. First of all, health feeding habits should be adapted for children in order to ensure that they do not entirely rely on junk food and snacks. Instead of taking sodas and sweets along with ice cream and chocolates, children should be encouraged to drink water, consume fruits and vegetables.
Accordingly, instead of the vending machines that sell snacks to children in school, fruits and vegetables should be introduced. Concurrently, children should be encouraged to engage in physical activity by ensuring that physical education is introduced back in the system. Moreover, parents should encourage their children to walk to school and provide them with opportunities to take on in active games once they get out of school. Sometimes, ensuring that a child does not take many snacks by cutting down one cookie can help prevent the gain of weight. However, research has put it forward that body weight gain or loss is dependent in addition to what one consumes, the biological mechanisms of he body (Parker-Pope, 2010). There has also been an argument that body weight gain is easier than the weight loss.
With this, small changes in what one takes in and the change of lifestyle can only contribute to weight loss if and only if the changes are added up for a long period of time. Otherwise, these changes may prove to be futile. There has been much that has been done in order to prevent the growth of obesity in children. It has been revealed by research that there have been cases whereby the parents of morbidly obese kids lost custody (Faure, 2009). This has been carried out on the basis that the food that the children feed on is the responsibility of the parents. Loosing the custody of their morbidly obese kids has been viewed as a way of helping obese children to gain their health.
Despite the fact that parents in this case are blamed and taken in as responsible for their children’s health feeding habits, there is much that is at stake that is yet to be addressed as the society’s responsibility is equally needed. Government should ensure that the food industry produces food with health proportion of fat, sugar and salt as well. At the same time, educational programs in healthy feeding should be provided for parents by the society in order to feed the children in a health manner and hence reduce cases of occurrence of obesity.
In view of the fact that obesity in children is a pandemic that should be dealt with by the parents, the health Academia and the government together with the society on the larger perspective; even the first Lady, Michele Obama has stepped in the battle against obesity. As a result, beverage companies have promised to make consumer friendly labeling that entails the vending and fountain machines along with the cans and bottles. This has also been addressed by Mrs. Obama promising to reshape school lunches for kids, their grounds for playing and the medical care being provided in terms of check ups (Stolberg, 2010). This is all directed to the elimination of childhood obesity. In actual sense, the major suppliers of school lunches promised to reduce sugar, fat and salt proportion in their foods for the benefit of children.
It is therefore not wise enough to blame the parents for the health of their children. This is to suggest that each and every individual is responsible for the obesity epidemic that has threatened the children. Innocent as they are, they should be aided by a collaboration of the parents, the academia and the society on the broader point of view. If the government can ensure that policies and the standards of health food for children are implemented, parents would be better placed to purchase health food. The food manufacturing industry should be regulated on the kinds of foods that are produced.
Again, standards should be laid down on the amount of sugar, fat and salt to be added as this can help in terms of providing health food. The Academia of which children spent most of time of the day should ensure that physical education is offered in order to improve the health of children. Children are very important part of the society and thus their health status should not be neglected. Following this point, the society should see to it that correct and viable measures are taken. Furthermore, there have been a lot of high costs that have been associated with obesity due to its effects. As such, are the costs of treating type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Obesity in Children is actually a threat to the welfare of society. According to research, obesity in children risks early age deaths. In this combination, those children that are obese are likely to develop health problems such as heart diseases, diabetes type 2 and other such like diseases (Stolberg, 2010). These diseases, being prevalent in America, in most cases are caused by obesity. Those obese children who later suffer from hypertension are likely to die by the time they are at 55 years of age. In this line of thought, it is essential to conclude that obesity in children leads to premature deaths or rather early age deaths.
It is important to fight obesity in children at all cost but the cause should not only be considered as to be as a result of feeding styles and lack of physical activity. Instead, other factors such as biological or rather genetic factors should be taken into account. More research should actually be carried out in order to establish the exact causes of obesity in children and remedies to be sought. They involve the best prevention measures and treatment as well.
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