Epidemic Childhood Obesity
Epidemic childhood obesity is quickly becoming one of the largest health concerns in the United States. The condition has become prevalent in all races and all walks of life throughout the county. At the basic level, the driving factor of this issue is a combination the between the general level of physical activity of children and the types and quantities of food that is being ingested. Modern children are more content with sitting on the couch that doing any kind of physical activity. This lack of exercise is simply not enough for the body to deal with the increased caloric intake of today’s modern diet. Foods that are commonly eaten in the United States are a major factor in epidemic childhood obesity. So-called junk food is exactly what the name implies, providing fewer and fewer nutrients while at the same time increasing the amount of calories a person ingests. Foods like soft drinks are at the height of making obesity an American epidemic as they are not only adding calories, but also increasing the level of sugar and caffeine intake in children.
Childhood obesity is a treatable condition and both parents and teachers should take an active role in stunting the growth of this problem. Parents are the first line of defense for childhood obesity and should monitor what foods a child is eating. At the early ages between five and fifteen, it can be difficult for a child to fully understand the implications of the continual consumption of unhealthy foods. The parent should remain aware of excessive weight gain and make sure children are choosing healthy foods as snacks versus unhealthy options. Teachers are responsible for educating the children about nutrition and the importance of exercise. In addition, the possible long term complications should be discussed to improve a child’s knowledge and make proper lifestyle and eating decisions. One way to achieve beneficial results is to offer children rewards for physical exercise and making good food choices to help stop epidemic childhood obesity.
Although the current epidemic childhood obesity problem is not limited to the United States, certain aspects of American life help to promote negative eating habits limit physical activity. The appeal of television and video games has glued many children to the sofa, spending countless hours in front of a television set instead of playing sports or other healthy activities. In addition, fast food and unhealthy snacks have become a way of life with prevalent advertising and cheap prices as ways of increasing business. The tolerance of these factors is directly contributing to epidemic childhood obesity. Since 1980 the number of overweight children has doubled while the number of obese children has doubled since 1960. Epidemic obesity is not an individual problem and society must work together to find a solution.