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Intervention and Prevention of Childhood Obesity, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1017

Essay

Abstract

During the last two decades, childhood obesity has become a rapidly growing epidemic.  In order to prevent this dilemma from spreading, parents need to become educated about the perils of obesity.  Schools and parents need to form an alliance, the same way they have done with the smoking campaign, to help prevent and wipe out obesity.

Introduction

According to the Office of the Surgeon General, “In 1999, 13% of children aged 6 to 11 years and 14% of adolescents aged 12 to 19 years in the United States were overweight. This prevalence has nearly tripled for adolescents in the past 2 decades.”  The questions that need to be answered are; how to halt this rapid climb, and how to make sure that this epidemic does not spread to other children.

Often times people use the word obesity to mean overweight.  The word “overweight” refers to a person whose weight is less than twenty percent above his/her normal body weight; and “obesity” is when the body weight is twenty percent or more that his or her normal body weight.  Lifestyle is one of the main factors that contributes to childhood obesity; temperance is the key to balancing weight.   Everyone including children, has a favorite food that is full of fat or sugar, if moderation of these food is consumed, it will not show on the scale.  Splurging once in a while on food that is sinfully rich in taste and high on calorie, will not hurt anyone; it is how much one eats in oppose to what one eats.  Parents need to be educated about good nutrition, that way they can help their children make wise eating choices.  Unfortunately, many times parents are afraid to be parents, therefore, the children dictate their own lifestyles.

Gable and Luiz (2000) say that:

…children’s physical activity, extent of television viewing, and food intake all show significant associations with obesity… Parents presumably contribute to children’s food intake (by what foods are available in the home), arrange their extracurricular activities (e.g., team  sports, clubs, religious education), and monitor the amount of time children spend watching television.

In childhood metabolism is at its peak; and the practice of exercise, following the food pyramid, and moderate use sugar, can make a great difference both in intervening and  preventing  childhood obesity.   It is easy to gain weight and very hard to take it off.  Therefore, the key is not to gain weight in the first place.   Children who do not spend much time watching television often have other pastimes; usually physical recreation, or taking part in some type of sports.  Children spend too much time indoors; watching television, surfing on the Internet,  or playing games on the computer.  Watching television is the worst recreation that can happen to young, unsupervised children.  The temptations to eat are ever present; every other commercial encourages them to have a snack.

Cawley ,  Meyerhoefer , and Newhouse (2006) say this about American schools:

…physical education (PE) requirements in schools have been shrinking … From 1991 to 2003, the percentage of high-school students enrolled in daily PE classes in America plummeted, from 42 percent to 28 percent.  Sounds like simple math: less time in gym class plus increasingly easy access to snack food and soda in school equals more youth obesity.

Cawley,  Meyerhoefer, and Newhouse (2006) continues to say that Physical Education classes in schools are really not what is usually deemed physical education.  Just because it is captioned physical activity; it does not mean that students are actually spending more time in the gym.  A study in the year two thousand by sports researchers Ken Hardman and Joe Marshall, reports that about twenty-six percent of Physical Education classes in the United States fail to follow state regulations.  And the schools who do play by the rules, do little to promote exercise.   “The U.S. Department of Education has criticized PE for too often consisting of ‘roll out the balls and let them play,’ unregulated and causeless class time that involves very little activity.   One study of a county in Texas found that elementary-school students are vigorously active only 3 minutes and 24 seconds per 40-minute PE class (See ‘Don’t Sweat It,” features, p. 30.). “

The burden of preventing childhood obesity cannot be left solely to the schools, despite the fact that they spend more there there than at home. The truth is, stemming this dilemma needs to start with the parents and hopefully they will take what they have learned at home to school. Also parents and children need to know the repercussions of childhood obesity.  There is a program for delinquent youth called “scared straight,” maybe there should be one for parents of young children, call “scared thin.” “Whether in matters of social development or physical health, parents are typically considered the primary agents of children’s socialization and well-being” (Gable and Luis 200).

Obese children become obese adults, even though  they sometimes happen before reaching adult, certain diseases are the results of obesity.  Hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, and respiratory diseases are the primary diseases of obesity; furthermore,  there myriads of secondary diseases, branching from these primaries ones.  Diabetes alone can cause blindness, heart failure, kidney failure, liver disease, gum disease and many more, plus the ones that are not yet discovered.

More than 80 percent of people with Type 2 diabetes, the most common form of the   disease, are obese or overweight. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey III shows that two-thirds of adult men and women in the U.S. diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes have a body mass index (BMI) of 27 or greater, which is classified as overweight and unhealthy.

If these truths are hammered into the minds of parents and children, like smoking prevention, the pestilent of childhood obesity would be stemmed.

References

Cawley, John,, Meyenhoefer, Chad,, Newhouse, David.  (2006) Not Your Fathers P.E.: Obesity, Exercise, and the Role of Schools.  Education Next.  8 (4) 60.

Gable, Sare, Luiz, Susan.  (2000) Household, Parent and Child Contribution to Childhood Obesity. The Family Relations. 49 (3).293.

Understanding Obesity.  Obesity in America.org.  Retrieved from: http://www.obesityin america.org/understandingObesity/disease.cfm

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Retrieved from: http://www.surgeongeneral.gov/topics/obseity/calltoaction/fact_adolescent.html

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