Obesity: A Modern Day Epidemic
July 11, 2010
In today’s society individuals have been brought up to place blame on other people, things, or situations for many of our personal issues including obesity. Instead of taking responsibility for our own actions, society finds it easier to point the finger elsewhere. This frame of mind can be partially, to blame for the epidemic of obesity in the United States. Nearly two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight and 30.5 percent are considered obese (Healthy Youth, 2008). The eating and exercise habits that contribute to this epidemic, generally, begin in childhood (Childhood ...view middle of the document...
Perhaps, the best and most logical place to start understanding and correcting the epidemic of obesity is childhood. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. Obesity in children age six to eleven years increased from 6.5 percent in 1980 to 19.6 percent in 2008. The number among adolescents age 12-19 years increased from five percent to 18.1 percent. The short term and long term affects of childhood obesity is alarming. Obese children are 70 percent more likely to become obese adults. (Childhood Obesity, 2010).
Obesity in childhood increases the risk of developing high cholesterol, hypertension, respiratory issues, orthopedic and joint issues, depression, and type 2 diabetes as a child. (Staff, 2010).The affects of obesity are long term. Obesity affects all bodily systems in one way or another. High cholesterol and hypertension can lead to cardiac issues; the respiratory system is affected by the excess pressure on the lung cavity. Orthopedic and joint issues are due to excessive weight on the skeletal system. Type 2 diabetes is a result of poor dietary intake and with proper diet and exercise can be reversed. Depression can cause social issues and lack of self esteem. Psychological issues can be as overwhelming and detrimental as the physical. (Staff, 2010).
Many factors, often a combination, contribute to the risk of childhood obesity. Obesity in children is often due to poor dietary intake accompanied by lack of exercise. Psychological factors, such as, overeating to cope with problems, emotions, stress, and boredom are often a learned behavior from parents. Socioeconomic factors such as, low income, also, play a role. Children from low income families have a higher risk of obesity; it takes both resources and time to make healthy eating habits and exercise a priority. Family factors such as, grocery shopping habits can affect a child’s obesity issue as well. These are all factors that can be addressed with time and effort. (Healthy Youth, 2008).
Parents are the ones buying the groceries. Buying more fruits and vegetables opposed to cookies, crackers, and prepared meals is extremely effective. If the “junk” food is not in the house, the child cannot eat it. Limiting the amount of soda and presweetened drinks in the house is, also, very beneficial. Sitting down for a meal as a family is an additional good habit; eating in front of the television, computer, or video game leads to eating fast, therefore more, as well as not being aware of the amount of food being eaten. Perhaps one of the hardest habits to break is eating out or fast food. Although convenient, it can be extremely unhealthy. (Staff, 2010).
Healthy eating habits are essential but are not enough on their own. Emphasizing physical activity is just as important. Limit time in front the television, computer, or video games. This is very effective in increasing a child’s physical activity. Encourage activity such as, riding a bike, playing...