Childhood obesity is a serious problem in the United States. Obesity is condition in which a child is significantly overweight for his or her age and height. It is a very common condition and is estimated to have around 3 million cases in the United States each year.
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Every day more children are getting diagnosed with obesity, and some as young as 4 years old. When a child gets diagnosed with obesity at a young age, it can be very difficult for them to lose the weight due to the many distrations they may face with food. Social media plays a role in the childhood obesity epidemic in which is a big eye catcher for children. Obesity is putting children and adolescents at risk for poor health and is a prevalence among children and adolescents is very high. Many parents are unaware of how serious this epidemic is and if this is slowly hurting their children in a negative way.
A parent’s goal is too keeping their child healthy and happy. Food is a necessity in a household, but many are also unaware of unhealthy food choices that is available in the stores. Obesity disproportionally affects children from low income families. In a study from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stated, “The prevalence was 18.5% and affected about 13.7 million children and adolescents” (p.1). This statement is explaining how obesity is affecting children and how much of an effect it has on people in the United States. Overweight 5 year old were four times as likely as normal weight children to become obese, with rates of 91.5 versus 17.2 per 1000 person years. Obesity overall starts young and continue over the child’s development as years continue. National data on the incidence of pediatric obesity to date have pertained only to adolescents transitioning to adulthood. In a study based on data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health stated, “The 5 year cumulative incidence of obesity among persons who were 13 to 20 years of age in 1996 and 19 years of age in 2001 was 12.7%, ranging from 6.5% among Asian girls to 18.4 among non Hispanic black girls” (P.3). This study is showing the overview statistics on childhood obesity with children of different races and how it has changed dramatically over the years.
Children are unaware of health many health effects. In some cases, childhood obesity in the United States is very serious. Children who are considered overweight at a young age are strongly affected as they progress through their childhood years. It can be very difficult for children to decrease their weight being young because their parents are providing the food for them. One of the main causes to childhood obesity is from the parent’s choice of what they are feeding their children. Many parents want to please their children by giving them the foods that they ask for, but little did they know that they are negatively affecting their child’s diet. In the United States, childhood obesity is affected greatly and has heavily impacted many school systems. Some school systems are in effect when it comes to being aware of the obesity epidemic. Some have changed their school lunch choices and made available a variety of fruits and vegetables for students in the classrooms.
Not many people are aware of the symptoms in which childhood obesity begins with. Not all children that are carrying extra pounds are overweight or obese it is just a common beginning trait. As children grow they maintain different body stages where they may gain or lose weight, grow taller, or gaining muscles. In a research article Childhood Obesity, Mayo Clinic stated, “Children normally carry different amounts of body fat at the various stages of development” (Pg. 1). This statement is discussing that children have different amounts of body fat throughout their growing stages of development. Many children’s past family history plays a role with their health. If a child comes from an unhealthy family background of obesity, they are likely to share and carry the same traits. It is important for families to be aware of their family health background because many are unaware of the history dynamic and how effective it is.
There are many risk factors to childhood obesity in the United States. One main common risk factor would be a child’s diet. For example, “Regular eating high-calorie foods, such as fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks, can cause your child to gain weight” (Mayo Clinic, Pg. 2). When a child is constantly around unhealthy foods, they get use to eating the foods regular which is hard for them to cut down the sugar. Sugar is overall addicting especially for young children and when the parents are allowing their child to eat whatever they want, this can turn into a major health issue. Many people are unaware of the term “Diet Therapy”. Diet therapy is described as “Treating a child or adolescent affected by obesity, it is often recommended that they have a consolation that specializes in children’s needs”. Diet therapy is very beneficial to a child’s growth and development because it gives informative information about health and wellness to the child. It involves a counselor to counsel young children who suffer from obesity and discuss effective ways to better their health. The counselors also come up with strategies to better a child’s diet like involve them to engage in outdoor activities, join sports teams or clubs at school, or think of creative activities they may enjoy. In many cases, nutritionists do not always recommend restricting caloric intake for children. For example, “Education on how back on portions, understand the food pyramid and eat smaller bites at a smaller pace is generally the information to a child ‘eating habits” (Obesity Action Coalition, Pg., 1).
More and more evidence is showing that sugary drinks, including fruit juices are a common type of weight gain for children. Once candy, sugary drinks, and fast foods are present in the child’s diet it can negatively affect them for a long time. Lack of exercise is another main risk factor with childhood obesity. For example, “Children who don’t exercise much are more likely to gain weight because they don’t burn as many calories” (Mayo Clinic, Pg. 2). Children are likely to sit and eat their favorite foods rather than go on a walk outside or engage in psychical activity.
Today’s environment plays a major role in shaping the habits and perceptions of children and adolescents. Some commercials on television do their best to promote their food ads with jokes, songs, and intriguing statistics. When children view these commercials, they are instantly interested in watching and might have an interest in trying the product that is being promoted. Social media is an extreme health factor for childhood obesity. In the United States social media is a huge epidemic. Children are getting phones at a young age, playing new video games, and different type of electronics that are being invented each day.
In conclusion to this paper, childhood obesity is a major problem in the United States. Children are at risk of many health problems when diagnosed at an early age. On the plus side effect, catching obesity at a young age for a child can be beneficial to help treat the child early and fast. It is a serious epidemic that is growing each day and it is important for parents to be aware of the type of food their children are consuming.
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