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Childhood Obesity Essay

1265 words - 6 pages

Today, In the United States childhood obesity has become an epidemic. One out of three children is considered overweight or obese. The main enablers consist of watching TV or engaging video games while consuming fast foods instead of nutritious, home-cooked meals. On average, a child will spend four hours a day playing video games while munching on potato chips and a high calorie soda. This type of activity is directly linked to terrible grades in school, reading fewer books, and not exercising as much as they should. Obese children are plagued with medical conditions stemming from high blood pressure to diabetes and most of them will develop low self-esteem and depression which will ...view middle of the document...

5). These numbers are terrible but not shocking since corporations spend billions of dollars each year on fast-food advertising aimed at children

A large Food portion is another contributor to childhood obesity. Restaurants serve super-sized meals for a small up charge and regular sit-down restaurants provide larger portions than necessary for a healthy balanced meal. The calories consumed from a McDonald’s Big Mac large sized meal is 1350 calories (Lindsay, Sussner, Kim, & Gortmaker, 2006). In one meal, a child can consume almost all of the 1500 to 2500 calories necessary to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Portion sizes have been distorted dramatically over the last twenty years for example, a bagel-3’diameter had 180 calories and today, the same bagel is 6 ’diameter and contains 350 calories. A cheeseburger had 330 calories and today, the same cheeseburger contains 590 calories. Moreover, a Soda/Pop- 6.5oz had 82 calories and today, a soda/pop- 20oz. contains 250 calories.

Schools are considered to be a main contributor of childhood obesity. The foods that are served though cafeterias are normally high in fat with added sugars. Pizza and soda are delivered once a week from a local restaurant and cupcakes are served as a snack. Schools also have vending machines which distribute junk foods with few nutrients. Rowe (2010) states that “43% of elementary schools, 89.4% of middle/junior high, and 98.2% of senior high schools have a vending machine in their cafeterias” (para. 4). Birthday parties also contribute to the empty calorie widespread by serving foods such as cookies, candy, and either pizza or mini cheeseburgers. There are numerous ways to incorporate portion control at home and when dining out. First, purchase only single serving or bite size snacks. Items that are purchased in their entirety should be divided by serving size and placed in bags. Utilize measuring cups when serving a meal at home and allow your children to have extra vegetables if they are still hungry. When dining out choose child portions or allow multiple children to share a meal. There are several food items that are low in fat without added sugar and should be implemented into a child’s daily food intake for example; high fiber foods such as whole wheat bread, low sugar foods such as brown rice, calcium rich foods such as cheese, and iron enriched foods such as cream of wheat. There are several ways to incorporate these foods into low fat meals at home, start with purchasing lean meats such as pork, ground beef or skinless chicken breasts. These items should be cooked by broiling or grilling and vegetables should be steamed to maintain their nutrients.

Parents must secure the tools necessary to remove distractions like the television and video games that keep their children in a inactive lifestyle. Parents can achieve a pleasant balance if they choose shows that meet the...

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