Children in today’s world are becoming obese more and more. In too many cases, childhood health is not taken as seriously as it could be. If a child is, or is likely to become obese, what should people do? They should take extreme precautions when it comes to their children’s health. Precautions may help them become healthy adults, and stay healthy children. Children’s health is a serious issue in this world. Children are extremely naïve and do not yet know the meaning of obesity or physical activity. They are vulnerable to just about anything that this world has accumulated to. There are people everywhere who can influence a child’s mind. Statistics show, “Currently, 31.7 percent of youth aged two to nineteen are overweight or obese, with 16.9% being greater than or equal to the 95th percentile of the 2000 body mass index (BMI) for age growth charts.”(Barrett 536). Also, some children fail to be as physically active as possible, causing (partially) childhood obesity (Lanigan 369). Obesity affects existing disorders, in fact, one out of every five people who are obese is affected by the disorder known as “Syndrome X26” (Obesity par. 9). In today’s society, children’s health is a serious issue because some may have genetic health problems, they are less physically active as children, and they are vulnerable to becoming obese.
First, children health issues, mostly genetic, can have an effect on the child’s physical appearance and physical wellness. If one has a disease from birth, or develops symptoms at a young age it may lead to an unhealthy child and eventually, an adult. There are about 4 million babies born each year, and about three or four percent have a genetic disease in their families or are born with a major birth defect (Matthews par. 3). There are many genetic disorders, but the most common around the world are Spina bifida, Down syndrome, and Sickle cell anemia. Allow me to elaborate more on these three most common genetic disorders (Matthews par. 2).
The most common of those is Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome, is a disease that a baby is born with. When the baby is born with down syndrome, it means that they have one extra 21st chromosome. Chromosomes are tiny genes in your body that determine what you look like and define who you are. Usually, babies are born with only 46 chromosomes, but just one extra chromosome can cause down syndrome. Symptoms of Down syndrome can vary from being very mild to extremely deadly. The development of the brain and body is usually slower in people with Down syndrome than those without it (“Facts” par. 2-4).
Lately, in the world today, people with Down syndrome have been living longer than expected. As many children are limited when it comes to mental and physical wellness, they are still able to become active and productive adults. Nearly half or more of the children dealing with Down syndrome are diagnosed with heart problems at birth. Heart problems including, atrial septal defect, ventricular septal defect, and also, endocardial cushion defects. The most severe heart problems may, and, or have lead to death in the child’s early years of life (“Down” par. 1-19).
Childhood obesity still concerns many public health agents today, especially high poverty and low income families. In schools, there have even been new lunch rules for children. Those rules say that each child must take one fruit or vegetable to go with their meal. This new rule is supplied by the government and is a legal action for schools to enforce (“Nixon” par. 6).
“According to the American Community Survey,* approximately 900,000 children attend elementary and middle schools in New York City” (Harr par. 2). Good nutrition is important to a child in their toddler years. Knowing that some children may not have access to healthy foods scares most people. Making sure that they do have access, will improve a child’s healthy well-being. It may also reduce the risk of obesity (Children Nutrition and Obesity par. 1).
Studies entail that insufficient nutritional intake during the childhood years have lead to serious physical and mental health related problems, and also emotional problems. Children who were born premature or at a lower birth weight, have more chances than most to become obese as a child. Poor nutrition while a mother is pregnant with a child can also lead to serious problems with the new born child. If a mother has had poor nutritional intake, the babies can be born bigger or smaller, and later become obese or more obese than their peers (Children’s Defense Fund).
Lanigan states in his article about childhood obesity that early childhood obesity is a concern worldwide. He also states that there is approximately 42 million children under the age of 5 whom are becoming obese. “Overweight children are at considerably higher risk of becoming overweight or obese adults” (“Lanigan” par. 1). Children receive their knowledge of health through direct telling and instructions and their own personal experiences (“Lanigan” par. 3).
In children’s early life they are always running around and playing with one another, but does anyone really think of it as physical activity? Not many people do, they think of it as children being children and running around letting out all of their energy. Physical education and activity is a great way to teach young children how important it is to be physically active(Free par. 1). Children who do not receive enough physical activity is a risk factor for being or becoming obese or overweight. It is also a risk factor for chronic diseases. If physical activity is practiced regularly, it can be associated with heath benefits immediately and in the later years of life. Children who are active at a young age are likely to become healthier and more active adults (“Physical Activity and” par. 2).
As children grow into adulthood they start watching more television, they play more video games, and it has resulted in a decline of their physical activity level. Physical inactivity may result in coronary artery disease. Which then may increase the chances of the child or person having a heart attack or a stroke. It may also lead to the child having diabetes. According to the American Heart Association, children and adults should take part in about 60 minutes or more of physical activity every day (“Physical Activity and” par. 2).
Parents should be focusing more on helping their children be physically active and reducing the time that they spend watching television, or playing video games. Instead, have them go outside and play a game of kickball, or backyard baseball (“Physical Activity and” par. 1). Also, parents can show their children that being physically active is also fun. They can show them that by participating with the children and making exercise fun with games (“Exercise” par. 1).Most young children are physically inactive for most of their preschool years (“Directly” par. 1).
When children receive enough physical activity during the day plus a healthy meal plan can reduce the risk of diseases and cancers. Sources, such as Dietary Guidelines for Americans, say the children need at least 60 minutes of physical activity for 5 or more days during the week to be, and stay healthy. Physical activeness every day can reduce blood pressure and cholesterol as well as symptoms of anxiety and depression (“Physical Activity” par. 2).
As its is said, children are much more active than adults, yet as children grow into adults, their physical activity rates declines. Some children then begin to no longer participate in activities. Most children and teens receive physical activity through physical education programs that are required by their schools. However, when the children reach the age where they are no longer required to partake in activities for school, they begin to lose interest in the physical activity (“Promoting” par. 7).
It has been said that most of children’s learning is through movement. Movement helps children learn the facts about life and education about physical education and being healthy. For most young children, this is an important means of communication, learning, and expression. Movement gives the child more opportunities to become more physically active. More or less, in schools today, the subject of physical learning is not requested in some schools, and should be pushed for importance (Elliot par. 4).
Teachers must use their time wisely when it comes to children’s health and physical well-being. Because children like the idea of having fun or playing, it might be an idea to teach them at the same time what physical activity is and how important it is to them. Physical activity is important to children’s health because it sets them on the right track for their later years as adulthood (Elliot par. 6).
According to “A Statement of Guidelines for Children Ages 5 – 12, 2nd Edition”, children should be getting at the least, 60 minutes or more, of physical activity on almost everyday of the week. This activity should be including moderate to hard physical activity, but not too hard for the children. The most of this time spent is naturally what children do, play. Children should accumulate many types of physical activities for about 15 minutes each, during one to to receive the full 60 minutes each day (A Statement).
If children are more physically active, then they wont have as many problems to deal with, for example, obesity. Obesity is continuing to increase in America, and it is putting more and more children a risk for disease. There are both long term and short term effects for obesity. Long term effects are when children stay obese throughout adulthood. Shorter termed effects, are simply being a little bigger as a child. Obese children have a greater risk to become obese adults. They also have a greater chance to develop heart disease, diabetes and high cholesterol. Children who are obese are also more likely to have bone and joint problems, such as arthritis (Childhood par. 1-4).
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