Childhood Obesity Essay
Childhood obesity is a serious health and societal issue. Rising at extreme rates, one may call it an epidemic. Childhood obesity increases incidences of mortality later in life, causes asthma and type II diabetes, which was only found in adults. With these ill effects, childhood obesity is an issue that should not be taken lightly. Over the last fifteen years, obesity in children has increased fifty percent. While the cause of this is equivocal, and heredity may play a role, there are some contributing factors. The media, parents/caregivers, and schools are major influences which are, to some extent, responsible for this astounding inclination of obesity among children.
Though parents should not allow the television to become their babysitter, some often do. Children, who are the most profitable sector in the media, are dragged into the unmerciful pull of the media. There are countless television programs and stations for children of all ages. With this wide variety, children are able to spend hours watching television which requires no physical activity, so children rarely, if ever participate in any physical activities outside of the school setting. This leads to inactivity which consequently, may lead to obesity. The media also contributes to obesity in children because of their junk food advertisements. During these programs, many food ads entice the children causing impulse eating. With the inactivity and impulse eating, children are more susceptible to become obese. To counteract the affects of the media, children need guidance from their parents.
Parents have a major influence on the well-being of their child. They can contribute to the possibility of obesity affecting their child by cooking and buying unhealthy food and permitting too much time watching television. If both parents work, it is often difficult to plan a well balanced diet for the child. Therefore, they may resort to cooking microwave dinners and buying unhealthy snacks for their child. There are numerous things parents can do to enable the health of their child. They can pack healthy lunches for school, cook foods with low cholesterol and trans-fatty acids, and enroll their children in sports and physical activities. Since parents can’t have a constant eye on their children, they should encourage them to make wise decisions about food. This will become useful for school-aged children.
A major part of a child’s day is spent at school. While the main focus should be on education, administrators should ensure that there is a healthy food selection for the children. In most schools, there are vending machines which consist of very unhealthy foods such as soda, chocolate, and chips. In the cafeterias, the menu includes French fries and burgers. With this kind of selection, it is very difficult for a child to eat healthy. School cafeterias should offer more beneficial foods such as salads and sandwiches to cater to the health of the students. Along with getting healthier food, administrators should also have weight training in their gym classes. Students should also be taught more about fats and cholesterol and how to avoid them.
Children are very vulnerable and therefore need guidance. With physical affects obesity has on children, this matter should be attended to with great concern. To prevent childhood obesity, children need support from the media, their parents, and their school. With help from these influences, there is a greater chance that childhood obesity will decrease and become an issue of the past.
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