The work is devoted to the discussion of the obesity issue among children and youth. This problem has now become the global issue, and the present discussion will be based on the article by Rain Smith ‘Battle vs. Bulge’, which was published on April, 9, 2006, and provides some new possible solutions for the obesity problem.
As far as the problem of obesity among children and youth has acquired the epidemic scope nowadays, media pays much attention to this issue.
The article, which has been published in Kingsport Times News, was probably another attempt to suggest possible solutions to the obesity problems. It stated that the ‘obesity rates have doubled in the United States since 1980, and it is estimated that 20 million American children and teens will be overweight by 2010’. (Smith, 2006)
«Childhood obesity is particularly troubling because the extra pounds often start kids on the path to health problems that were once confined to adults, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol.» (Mayo Clinic Staff)
The causes of obesity
The article describes the festival, which was held by the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA and was called ‘Put Play in Your Day’, aimed at encouraging parents to be better involved into the way their children eat and exercise. The party’s main goal was to prove parents that they play the major role in forming eating and physical habits of their children. It has been pointed out, that parents themselves should serve as a model of correct nutrition. However, the stress has also been made on the fact, that not only nutrition should be corrected and viewed, but the fight against obesity must be performed on all levels of human consciousness – ‘a routine should be developed at an early age, not just fitness, but also nutrition, mind, body and spirit’. (Smith, 2006)
The article underlines the necessity of all sectors of society to be involved into the obesity combat, which will make this fight successful.
Another negative factor, which is often made one of the main reasons of child obesity, is video games, but the article suggests new solution – video games, which teach children to dance and move, as ‘Dance, Dance Revolution’. Thus, children will be able to play games and be active at the same time, avoiding the risks of obesity. These processes should go with the active parents’ participation, and this is made an integral factor for any child’s health, because according to the article, ‘children who are joined by their parents in some sort of physical activity, are less likely to experience weight and other medical problems’. (Smith, 2006)
The ways to prevent obesity
To my mind, the problem of obesity is becoming a global issue. The speed of obesity spreading among children and youth is even more scaring. But there are still the means of curing this disease, though I think that these means should now be applied not on the individual, but on the state level.
“How do you know if your child’s weight gain is normal and when it’s leading to childhood obesity? Children, unlike adults, need extra nutrients and calories to fuel their growth and development. So if they consume about the number of calories they need for daily activities, growth and metabolism, they add pounds in proportion to their added inches. But children who eat more calories than they need gain weight beyond what’s needed to support their growing frames. In these cases, the added weight increases their risk of obesity and weight-related health problems.” (Mayo Clinic Staff)
I suppose that significant environmental changes might serve as one of the most important causes for the obesity among children and youth. What I mean here, is that the level of fast food and soft drinks’ consumption, with the lower physical activity, as most children don’t walk to school, but take a bus or go with their parents by car, lead to the disproportions in nutrition and thus become the reasons of obesity and diabetes.
I don’t think that medical approach to the problem is the only possible in this situation. In my opinion, medical assistance is needed only in the most severe cases. On the contrary, the main stress should be made on the social programs. Schools should concentrate on the higher level of physical activity among their pupils. Physical activity helps to prevent obesity and to soften its consequences. In this situation schools must develop special programs to make physical exercises for children desirable and pleasant.
The amount of time, during which children watch TV, must be limited, and parents play crucial role in this process. It should be combined with the increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables.
«One of the best strategies to combat excess weight in your children is to improve the diet and exercise levels of your entire family. This helps protect the health of your children now and in the future» (Mayo Clinic Staff)
My opinion is that the solutions for the obesity problem are rather simple, and don’t need much effort, but help to prevent serious medical and psychological problems of children. Though the need in state obesity programs is evident, each individual must contribute into it through active participation in his children’s life, nutrition, physical activity and leisure time. Children should be controlled since their early age. They should be taught correct eating habits and being physically active, which will finally lead to the lower obesity levels among children and youth.
Smith, Rain. Battle vs. Bulge. Kingsport Times News 99. 9 April 2006
Mayo Clinic Staff ‘Childhood obesity”.18 May 2007