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Childhood Obesity: Who is at Fault? Essay Sample

Childhood Obesity: Who is at Fault? Pages
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“There are numerous causes of childhood obesity. However, the ultimate responsibility for the problems and costs associated with an obese child should be attributed to that child’s parents. Parents owe a duty of care to their child and, when their child is obese, have arguably breached that duty.” Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the United States which causes many health, social, and mental problems to the child. Over the years obesity has increased dramatically due to the economy, lack of exercise, and new technology. Although obesity in adults are increasing more importantly obesity in adolescents are increasing as well. This is a big problem because as a child your parent is mostly responsible for you. It is their duty as a parent to make sure you are getting the adequate nutrition, enough exercise, and eating healthy. This means that the parents are mostly at fault if they have a child that is obese. Although the parents are mostly to blame for obese children in a way educators and other family members are also at fault.

Though the media and low cost of fast food play a huge roll in childhood obesity family, educators, and business leaders also effect obese children. Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression. And excess weight at young ages has been linked to higher and earlier death rates in adulthood (Childhood Obesity). Childhood obesity is a huge problem that needs to be addressed because it is killing our youth. Obesity

What is Obesity? Obesity is a plague that has begun to spread across our country like a wildfire. Obesity has gotten so bad that the government has begun implementing laws that regulate school lunches and time spent exercising at school. Obesity is defined as abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to an individual’s health. Obesity is measured by the body mass index (BMI) which is an index of weight for height. Mathematically this is the person’s weight in kilograms divided by the square of the height in meters. BMI ranges for children and teens are defined so that they take into account normal differences in body fat between boys and girls and differences in body fat at various ages (What is Obesity?).

Obesity in adolescents can lead to many complications throughout a child’s life if it is left ignored. One of the biggest complications is the many health problems that come with being overweight. Most of the health risk of childhood obesity are the same as those of adults. Obesity can lead to hypertension, heart disease, cancer, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, and glucose intolerance. These disease have been found in children as young as 5 years of age. Type two diabetes once virtually unrecognized in adolescents is now found in as many as half of all new diagnosis of diabetes in some populations. Looking more in depth of the diseases that are linked with childhood obesity allows you to see how these illnesses really effect the child. Hypertension in children and adolescents are increasing. This is due to the increase of childhood obesity. Hypertension is defined as abnormally high blood pressure.

Childhood hypertension can lead to hypertension as an adult if this is not controlled. Heart disease is another risk factor of childhood obesity. Heart disease is a broad term used to describe a range of diseases that affect your heart. The various diseases that fall under the umbrella of heart disease include diseases of your blood vessels, such as coronary artery disease; heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias); heart infections; and heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects). There are many diseases associated with child obesity but I will go into detail on one final big consequence of childhood obesity and that is hyperlipidemia. Hyperlipidemia is increased blood lipids. This consists of elevated serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides and lowered high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. These are many diseases that weren’t typically seen until children reached adulthood and is now found in many children that are overweight. Obese children are not only more vulnerable to health complications but they are also at risk of being socially alienated. This can lead to a lot of mental instability and a negative self-image.

Obese children are stereotyped as being unhealthy, academically unsuccessful, socially inept, unhygienic, and lazy. Obese children become the target of systematic discrimination. In the American culture there is an emphasis on being thin. At a young age we are taught that being thin is the normal and that being obese is not normal. Overweight children are ranked lowest to be chosen as someone’s friends. Several studies have shown clearly that children at a young age are sensitized to obesity and have begun to incorporate cultural preferences for thinness. Preference tests have demonstrated that 10- to 11-year-old boys and girls prefer as friends other children with a wide variety of handicaps to children who are overweight (Health Consequences of Obesity in Youth: Childhood Predictors of Adult Disease). Although young children are more likely to be discriminated against they do not have a low self-esteem or self-image, this is more common in adolescents. Parents Role in Childhood Obesity

Children tend to follow the habits of their parents and the older people involved in their lives. If your parents are typically physically active people you will be more likely to do more physical activities. If they are more inactive children are more than likely to be less active. This is the same for what you eat. Parents that are more likely to eat unhealthy foods every night are probably feeding their children the same bad foods that they are eating. This is why the responsibility of childhood obesity falls in the hands of the parents. Most children look up to their parents, if a parent is excepting of a child being obese, chances are the child will be excepting of being obese.

Researchers have found that adolescents will eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day if their parents do. The high amount of fast food restaurants in a neighborhood has been the blame of the healthy food deficit, however, that “good dietary habits start at home,” said research scientist Susan H. Babey, a co-author of the policy brief. “If parents are eating poorly, chances are their kids are too.” Teens whose parents drink soda every day are 40 percent more likely to drink soda than teens whose parents don’t drink soda every day. Almost half of the adolescents whose parents drink soda every day eat fast food at least once a day.

What the parents eat is not the only factor in parent’s role in childhood obesity. Parent- child relationship and the home environment also play a large role in childhood obesity. Over the past two decades family traditions have changed drastically. Today children are spending less time outside doing physical activities and more time in the house on the computer, watching TV, and playing video games. New studies show that kids who watch television daily are less likely to eat fruits and vegetables and more likely to eat junk foods. Watching TV and playing video games are directly related to obesity. The longer you watch TV and play video games the more likely you are to be obese.

If parents want their kids to live a long, happy, and healthy life they need to begin taking responsibility for their children. If parents start living a more healthy life children will follow in the footsteps of their parents. Most parents are role models for their kids and if they see that their parents are trying to making a positive change in their lives they will want to follow their parents. They will start eating healthy and exercising because every child dreams to be like their parents. Educators Role in Childhood Obesity

Choosing the profession of a an educator comes with an endless amount of responsibilities. This career is much more than teaching that the things that are written in your contract when you are hired into a school district. Becoming an eduactor is basically like taking on the role of a parent without giving birth. With that being said educators are just as responsible for keeping students healthy.

Educators play one of the biggest roles in childhood obesity. From ages 5-18 years children are enrolled in school and spend over half of their day in school. Many students eat breakfast and lunch at school. Many schools today offer endless and unlimited food choices. Most of the food offered is unhealthy and high in fats. If you have the money to afford the foods offered by the school then you can buy as much as you want. Even students who are offered free lunch due to financial instability are still able to spend money on other unhealthy foods. Although the schools do offer some healthy choices they are much more expensive than just grabbing a burger or 10 chicken nuggets. Along with the unhealthy choices offered in the cafeteria schools offer many snacks and sodas loaded up in vending machines placed throughout the school. How are children expected to eat healthy when they have all of these unhealthy and unlimited choices all around them?

Most parents expect that the amount of exercise done in gym class should be enough physical activity in general. There is no way this statement can be true. Most gym classes are between 50 and 75 minutes. This time includes getting changed into your clothes, going through attendence, going over instrutions, completing whatever activity for the day, and changing back into your school clothes. This leaves about a maximum of 30 minutes of physical activities that students are actually doing. Also most gym classes only take place every other day so that leaves half of the week and the weekend without any physical activity. This does not include the 25% of students that do not participate in gym class. This shoould not be used as a main source of exercise.

What is Society Doing to Combat Childhood Obesity?
Although there are many things that facilitate childhood obesity there are also many programs being put in place to help impede this epidemic. Since obesity has become a struggle throughout our nation many of our nations leaders have implemented many programs to help get this health crisis under control. Not only has the government been working on ways to decrease the rate in childhood obesity but many superstars, athelets, and musicians have been voicing their opinions on different ways that we can save our youth. One of the big programs that have been started to help our youth more active and healthy is Play 60 created by the NFL. The mission of NFL Play 60 is to make the next generation of youth the most active and healthy.

This program was launched in October 2007. It is a national youth health and fitness campaign focused on increaing the wellness of children fans by encouraging them to be active for at least 60 minutes a day. To help tackle childhood obesity NFL Play 60 is implemented at the grassroots level through NFL’s in-school, after-school and team-based programs. The NFL has dedicated over $200 million to you and healthy wellness through this program. With this and other programs thatt have been designed to help take down childhood obesity the nation should be to a healthy in no time. A Closer Look at Childhood Obesity

The best way to discover the impact being made by childhood obesity is by interviewing someone that was obease as a child. In an interview coducted by myself of a Hayden Warmke, I asked the following questions and received the following answers: 1. How old are you currently?

a. “I am twenty years old.”
2. How old were you when you realized that you were overweight?
a. “I was about nine or ten years old.”
3. Did you know what it meant to be overweight?
a. “Yes, because my doctors explained it to me.”
4. How did this effect you growing up?
a. “It affected me growing up because a lot of people made fun of me and didn’t want to be friends with me.”
5. Did being overweight cause any health problems?
a. “At the time I did not have any health problems, however my doctor told me that if I gained 10 more pounds there would be a 90% chance that I could develop type two diabetes. 6. Why do you believe that you were overweight?

a. “I think that it definitely had a lot to do with a lack of physical activity. Literally after school I would go home eat a snack usually little Debbie snacks, play Xbox or computer games, eat dinner, play more games and then go to bed. And no matter what people say gym classes aren’t very effective.” 7. Do you blame your parents for you being overweight?

a. “To an extent yes, only because they would let me eat what I want when I wanted and play games for as long as I wanted.” 8. Do you blame yourself at all?
a. “Yes I had many chances to play a sport, join a club, or go on a diet and I chose not to. Video games were like an addiction for me, along with fast food.” 9. Do you think that if your parents had pushed for you to do other activities, play a sport, and eat healthy things would have been different? a. “In the beginning they pushed for me to play soccer so I played for about four or five years but then I just lost interest in doing physical activities, I just wanted to stay in and play video games.” 10. What made you decide to change?

a. “The biggest part was being picked on throughout middle school. I just wanted to show everyone that I could do it.” 11. What are you doing differently than you were before?
a. “I rarely play video games anymore, I generally spend five days in the gym doing at least two hours of exercise and I have also changed my diet to cut out a lot of fast foods.” 12. Does being overweight as a child still have an effect on you? a. “Yes definitely, it has a huge effect on my self-esteem, no matter how physically fit I am I generally do not feel comfortable with my body around people that I don’t know very well. It gives you a better perspective of being both overweight and being fit.” Conclusion

“We talk extensively about the health of the country we will leave our children, but what about the health of the children we will leave our country? We encourage our kids to prosper, but too many of them will not be healthy enough to fight in the military, or will be overburdened with diseases like type II diabetes and high blood pressure when they grow up,” said Congresswoman Fudge. Childhood obesity needs to be addressed.

This is a problem with our youth throughout the entire world and something needs to be done about it. Parents need to start making changes in their own lives so that they can help their children live a healthier life. Parents need to get their children out of the house and get them active. If this epidemic continues we will not have a youth. Obesity is not caused because of too many fast food restaurants it is caused because we as a nation have become very lazy and fast food is the quickest thing. The school districts need to implement programs to get children active. Though the media and low cost of fast food play a huge roll in childhood obesity family, educators, and business leaders also effect obese children.

Works Cited

“Adolescent and School Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 July 2013. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. Danesh, Noori A. “Childhood Obesity, Prevalence and Prevention.” Nutrition Journal. N.p., 2 Sept. 2005. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. Deckelbaum, Richard J. “Childhood Obesity: The Health Issue.” Obesity Society. NAASO, 6 Sept. 2012. Web. 6 Oct. 2013. Glickman, Dan. Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention: Solving the Weight of the Nation. Washington, DC: National Academies, 2012. Print. Golan, M. “Parents as the Exclusive Agents of Change in the Treatment of Childhood Obesity.” The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. The American Society for Clinical Nutrition, Maffeis, Talamini C. “Influence of Diet, Physical Activity and Parents’ Obesity on Children’s Adiposity:.” Eurpoe PubMed Central. Europe PubMed Central, 1998. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. Mandal, Ananya. “Obesity in Children.” News Medical. News Medical, n.d. Web. 06 Oct. 2013. Smith, J. Clinton. Understanding Childhood Obesity. Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1999. Print. Strauss, Richard
S. “Childhood Obesity and Self-Esteem.” Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Jan. 2000. Web. 03 Oct. 2013 Strauss, Richard S., and Judith Knight. “Influence of the Home Environment on the Development of Obesity in Children.” Pediatrics. American Academy of Pediatrics, 11 Nov. 1998. Web. 03 Oct. 2013. Deitz, William H. “Health Consequences of Obesity in Youth: Childhood Predictors of Adult Disease.” Health Consequences of Obesity in Youth: Childhood Predictors of Adult Disease. American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 Mar. 1998. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.

Appendix A
1. Introduction
a. Thesis: Though the media and low costs of unhealthy foods play a large role in childhood obesity the responsibility of keeping children healthy falls on the family and educators. 2. What is obesity?

a. Abnormal or excessive fat accumulation that presents a risk to an individual’s health b. Major risk factors
i. Chronic disease
1. Diabetes
2. Cardiovascular diseases
3. Cancer
c. Measuring Obesity
i. Body mass index- a crude population measure of obesity
1. Simple index of weight for height that is commonly used in classifying overweight and obesity 2. Weight in kg/height in m^2
d. Social Risks of obesity
3. Family Roll in Obesity
a. Under-Nutrition and obesity coexist
i. Caused by inadequate prenatal, infant and young child nutrition followed by exposure to high-fat, energy-dense, micronutrient- poor foods and lack of physical activity b. Over nurturing
c. Parents weight
i. If parents are overweight children will think it’s acceptable for them to be overweight d. Stay at home parent
4. Educator Roll
a. School Lunches
i. No limit on amount of food you can purchase
ii. More unhealthy food choices than healthy choices
iii. Salads cost more than unhealthy choices
b. Gym Classes
i. Physical fitness test
ii. Length of classes
5. Arguments and Opposing view points
a. Genetics
b. Family approves
c. Being overweight is becoming socially acceptable

Appendix B
The topic that I chose for my research paper is childhood obesity. The reason that I chose this topic is because there is an increasingly large number of obese children in the United States and it is something that needs to be addressed. I feel that although the media and low cost of fast foods play a huge roll in childhood obesity the family and educators play the biggest roll in childhood obesity. Most of the day for children birth to about eighteen a child is at home, school, or with family. Whether the time spent is watching TV, on the computer, or learning the adults in the situation are in charge and need to take control. I feel like today parents just allow kids to stay inside for hours playing on the computer and watching television.

I feel this is really what is affecting our youth today. The amount of time spent outside these days doesn’t even compare to what it was 20 or even 10 years ago. Although the parents are mostly at fault for allowing their kids to spend so much time inside the educators and superintendents are at fault as well. The variety of foods now offered in schools are endless. Most schools if you have the money you are allowed to buy as much food as you want. Not only is the endless amount of food a problem it’s also a problem that gym classes and recess time are cut shorter. I feel that these are the most important times of the day because it is something that is required and can get students a little bit of exercise in their day. I created my research questions to find out what the underlying cause of childhood obesity was.

Appendix C

Appendix D
1. Obesity- having too much body fat. It is not the same as being overweight, which means weighing too much. 2. Genetics- the study of heredity and the variation of inherited characteristics. 3. Diabetes- is usually a lifelong (chronic) disease in which there are high levels of sugar in the blood. 4. Glucose- a simple sugar that is an important energy source in living organisms and is a component of many carbohydrates. 5. Hypertension- when your blood pressure is 140/90 mmHg or above most of the time. 6. Self-Esteem- confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect 7. Consumption- an amount of something that is used up or ingested. 8. Epidemic- a widespread occurrence of an infectious disease in a community at a particular time. 9. Exercise-activity requiring physical effort, carried out esp. to sustain or improve health and fitness 10. Idiopathic- relating to or denoting any disease or condition that arises spontaneously or for which the cause is unknown. Citation: National Library of Medicine, Google Definitions

Appendix E
1. How concerned are you about your children being overweight/obese? a. Very Concerned
b. Concerned
c. Not Very Concerned
d. Not Concerned At All
2. How concerned are you about childhood obesity throughout your community? a. Very Concerned
b. Concerned
c. Not Very Concerned
d. Not Concerned At All
3. How many hours does your child spend participating in physical activities per day? a. Less than 1 Hour
b. 1-2 Hours
c. 2-3 Hours
d. More Than 3 Hours
4. How important do you physical activity in a child’s life is? a. Very Important
b. Important
c. Not that Important
d. Not Important at All
5. Should schools be more involved in combating childhood obesity? a. Yes
b. No
6. How much time does your child spend watching TV per day?
a. Less than 1 Hour
b. 1-2 Hours
c. 2-3 Hours
d. More than 3 Hours
7. Do you believe too much TV contributes to childhood obesity? a. Yes
b. No
8. How important is nutrition in your family’s life?
a. Very Important
b. Important
c. Not that Important
d. Not Important at all
9. Do you participate in physical activity with your children? a. Yes
b. No
10. Do you believe childhood obesity is a problem in the world? a. Yes
b. No

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