There is a saying, “you are what you eat” which certainly appears to be true. Childhood obesity has become a nationwide epidemic. Canada has seen a massive increase in the number of unhealthy and obese children in the past twenty years. But who is to blame for this problem? People tend to blame socioeconomic factors and the mass media for their children’s weight problems. However, unhealthy family eating habits and a lack of family involvement in physical activity are major reasons for obesity in young children today.
Although people will argue that a child’s diet and lack of exercise are the leading causes for obesity in children, some people believe that obesity in children is caused by socioeconomic factors. People insist that they are living in an environment that does not encourage healthy eating. This statement can true because fast food restaurants are more convenient and less expensive opposed to buying fruits and vegetables. Families that are low income cannot afford to buy healthy foods from grocery stores because they are expensive. This causes parents to buy cheap, convenient, and frozen unhealthy meals. Also, in some neighborhoods with higher crime rates, it can be dangerous to participate in outdoor activity when they are home. Also, some parents blame public schools for offering soda in the vending machines instead of water or milk. This gives the children access to unhealthy items in a vending machine. Certain people will argue that physical education is less important when children enter junior or high schools. According to the article, Government Involvement in Sport for Youth, author Ron R. Schuler explains that “this age is when political/policy statements are on the need for more physical activity for teens begin by society and the government and not by the younger ages” (8). However, physical activity is important for everybody of all ages.
Not only is socioeconomic factors blamed for child obesity, the mass media has been criticized as well. Children spend a great amount of time in front of their television. During the commercial break of their favourite television show, they are bombarded with commercials that are directed at them. Children seem easily influenced by the ads they see on television. Meghan Lynch, author of Food Messages in Television Programs for Preschoolers: A Call for Research, states that “an influence on a children’s dietary behaviour have concluded that commercials affect children’s request, purchases, and consumption of unhealthy foods” (347). However, if parents limit the time that their children spend doing sedentary activities, such as watching television, than they would not be able to see television commercial ads and they will not be drawn to them.
Children who are unhealthy and obese lack proper nutritional...