Childhood Obesity Essay

992 words - 4 pages

Do you get enough exercise? Are you sure about that? Or how about this, are you overweight, do you even know? Today’s adolescents don’t. In fact today’s adolescents face serious risk from their lack of activity. Today’s children are obese because they have developed some very bad habits related to healthy living and as result can suffer serious physical and psychological damage.

Perhaps the most damaging health habit kids today have is their complete and total lack of exercise. Children today are more inclined to a sedentary behavior. Movies, television, the Internet, etc. are all magnets for kids, and while these mediums of entertainment aren’t altogether “evil” they can breed docile attitudes. If too much time is spent watching television or playing video games a child becomes less likely to go outside and get some physical activity. However television and computers aren’t the only cause. When children aren’t at home they spend most of their remaining time at school, so it seems natural that schools would also take a proactive role in trying to teach healthy exercise habits. (Koplan) Yet in 2012 only a little more than half of all the high school students in the US were enrolled in a physical education class and only about 26% had a daily gym class. As well, only slightly more than half of all students also participated in an extracurricular sport. Schools need to work to promote healthy exercise habits and (with the help of local communities) be able to provide the necessary equipment to help adolescents get a healthy amount of physical activity. (American Obesity Association)

Lack of exercise isn’t the root cause of childhood obesity however it is, in fact, only half of the cause. The other cause is the consumption of high calorie foods. Adolescents today consume many high sugar, high calorie, low nutrition snacks. In many cases these snacks are used as rewards and/or a replacement for a normal meal. These practices foster bad eating habits. Instead, if children replaced the “junk food” they eat with foods that are low calorie and have a good nutritional value their risk of becoming obese would be greatly diminished.

Together this lack of exercise and tendency to snack is the root cause of childhood obesity. In 1999 nearly 13% of children (ages 6 to 11) and 14% of adolescents (ages 12 to 19) were considered overweight. These figures have tripled since nearly two decades ago. (Koplan) The combination of a high caloric diet and lack of exercise causes children to gain extra weight that might otherwise be burned off. Although an unhealthy diet is never a good thing, even with a moderate amount of exercise adolescents can effectively fend off obesity and the negative affects that follow.

On the other hand, not all cases of childhood obesity are a result of external forces. In some cases a child’s problem with their weight is mainly a genetic problem. In this case even the healthiest of habits may not be enough to prevent a child from...

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