|By: Liz K - at February 19, 2013
Who is Responsible For Overweight Children
Children and Obesity:
obesity is a major issue that our society has to battle with today. Obesity is
the result of calorie imbalance, when too few calories are being used versus the
amount being consumed, and is influenced by genetic, behavioral, and
environmental factors. The New York Department of Health found that 43% of
public elementary school students are overweight and 76% aren’t getting five
daily servings of fruit and vegetables.
Obesity rates have nearly tripled in the
past thirty years in all age groups. (Childhood Obesity Statistics, 2011). The
argument is, “Who is to blame for this getting out of control?” I believe
parents have full responsibility for the health of their children.
only can children eat their way to obesity, but it is also hereditary and
children can be burdened with it as early as birth. I think this is something
that a lot of parents over look, but it’s a very serious issue. Kids can be born
overweight, but they can also be born with diabetes and with a potential of
contracting other serious diseases such as cardiovascular disorder. Over 71% of
parents don’t even know that their children are overweight because they
mistakenly think their child is healthy or only slightly overweight. Currently,
33% of preschoolers are obese and 12-15% of parents are obese. (Childhood
Obesity Statistics, 2011).
Child obesity is becoming a more severe problem
because what we used to believe ten years ago about children growing out of baby
fat is becoming less and less true. It has been found that if children are obese
by the age of two it could affect them later down the road.
Parents need to pay
attention to children’s weight at an early age, especially if the parents’
themselves are heavy set. It is so extremely important that parents take care of
themselves also. They can doom their child from the get-go with health problems
if they don’t eat right and exercise to keep themselves in a healthy state.
children depend on their parents while they’re young; needing food, clothes,
love, shelter, etc. The health of children starts in their home. Kids tend to
eat whatever their parents do. YES, habits are passed on and if you exhibit
terrible eating behaviors then your kids are most likely to follow in those
footsteps. If parents drink pop, then so will the kids. If parents order
McDonald’s four times a week, then that is what your child is consuming.
many parents today are giving in to the pressures of fast food because it’s
cheap, has good taste, is easy to get a hold of, and is quick. However, this is
not the answer and can have devastating lifelong effects. Everyday dinner
decision could mean the ultimate difference in the life path of a child. Adults
need to realize that eating dinner at home is not only physically beneficial for
kids, but also emotionally.
Spending time at the dinner table together allows
families to communicate and bond. This is a great way to spend family time and
to address a health issue. The change doesn’t need to be directed at the child,
but can be a family decision to get healthy together. If parents demonstrate
healthy eating habits then the kids will most likely pick up on them.
Make it Fun!
big complaint from parents is that kids don’t like vegetables or that they like
to go to McDonald’s so often because they get the free toy. Truth is, parents
can make eating fun too! If you make food into some kind of animal or somehow
turn eating into a game, kids will be way more likely to participate and not
even know that it’s healthy for them.
As a child my parents did this and I
didn’t even realize they were trying to get me to eat new foods until I was much
older. My brothers and I were very reluctant to try certain vegetables like
zucchini, cauliflower, and steamed broccoli based off of their looks. One day my
parents decided to try something to get us out of our closed mindset. They
brought out a bunch of different dishes with lids on them and then blindfolded
us. We had to try three foods without looking at them first and decide if we
liked them or not. Then afterwards my parents showed us what we had eaten, so
that we would understand that vegetables can be appetizing too! They were able
to communicate with us on our level of understanding as to why we needed to eat
more vegetables. Also, if you catch picky eaters when they’re hungry they’ll be
more likely to try whatever you serve.
Try to incorporate healthy foods into
meals they enjoy the most and will be more eager to try new things. If Moms and
Dads would just put in the effort then maybe we would have much lower obesity
A major problem that we’re dealing with today is the amount of technology that
is available. Kids have GameBoy, television, lap tops, Xbox, Playstation, Wii,
and computer games to keep them occupied inside. Do you think kids have the
money to buy all of these expensive toys? No, parents make these things
available to children by buying them new things every time they ask for them. I
believe that technology is a huge part of the reason that the whole population
overall is obese. Kids will go to school, come home and play video games for
two-three hours, and then watch TV for nearly the same amount of time before
they go to bed.
Parents are not only able to control how many of these
electronics that kids own, but also and more importantly, the amount of time
that they spend on these each day. If parents would set boundaries with their
kids starting when they are very young then the chances are that they will be
able to have a higher resistance to these things when they are older. Again,
monkey see monkey do. Parents need to pay attention to how much time they’re
spending on the internet and on technological toys. It’s perfectly acceptable to
let children play video games and watch television, but the time should be
limited and used more as a reward system when they have good behavior.
Going hand-in-hand with the amount of time children spend in front of the
television or playing video games, goes the amount of time children spend
exercising. Play time is a very important part of a child’s life and if they
aren’t getting the active time that they need it can be very harmful physically,
mentally, and socially. Some schools today don’t even have PE classes, so when
kids aren’t getting any exercise at school and none at home, where are they
Parents need to set aside time, especially on the weekends, for
outdoor activities where kids are able to run around. They should be getting
about an hour of free play time every day to exercise physically and creatively.
Teaching children to be active at a very young age gives them a much higher
chance of lifetime fitness activity.
The goal is not to become a body builder or
to lose one hundred pounds (although these are great ambitions), but to be and
STAY healthy. The more active a child is, the happier they usually are because
they feel better and are involved with group activity with friends in most
cases. Physical activity goes a long way and this value can be instilled by
parents at a very young age.
When it comes down to it, kids across the country are lacking in every area from
eating the right foods to daily exercise. Parents have the ability to control
all of these things and they need to start putting their foot down if we want to
make America a healthier place and if they want a healthier child who will live
a long life.
If parents start creating good habits when kids are young they will
be more likely to carry through with them as adults. Moms and Dads should take
the weight of their children more seriously and work to improve the amount of
fruits and vegetables in their diets, the amount of exercise they are getting
every week, and limit their time spent watching television and playing video
Childhood Obesity Statistics. Net
(2011). Childhood Obesity Statistics And Facts. Child Obesity Advice.
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