Childhood Obesity And Television Essay

2665 words - 11 pages

Childhood obesity is one of the major health issues in the U.S. and in other countries. According to “Diet, Nutrition, and Wellness: Obesity,” more than one-third of children in the United States are either overweight or obese (“Diet, Nutrition...”). To be specific, 2011-2012 data has shown that 8.4% of 2- to 5-year-olds were obese compared with 17.7% of 6- to 11-year-olds and 20.5% of 12- to 19-year-olds (“Childhood Obesity Fact”). This data shows that 2 to 5 year olds will continue to be obese by the time they turn 12-19 year-olds. Obesity can cause serious health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. In fact, research has shown that nearly 60 percent of overweight children age 5 to 17 had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 25 percent had two or more (“BMI in Children”). This high risk of cardiovascular diseases can shorten the children’s lives. They would have to worry about the disease for the rest of their lives. In discussion of childhood obesity, there has been a controversy over how TV influences childhood obesity. On the one hand, opponents like Frank Furedi argue that poor eating habits are the reason instead of television. On the other hand, supporters like Rebecca Boulos contend that television is the primary cause of the childhood obesity increase. Anderson argues that advertisements are causing the increase of childhood obesity. Brady Darvin claims that parents rather than advertisements are the strongest influence on children’s eating and drinking behavior. Of all the different causes, television and its influence has the most effect on the rate of childhood obesity.
One way television influence the rate of childhood obesity is through its encouragement on children’s eating habits. The opponent of television’s influence, Frank Furedi focuses more on eating habits rather than on television. He does, however, agree that children have a habit of eating while watching television. Children choose their food based what they see on television. According to Boulos, et al, research have proven that when “viewers see a given food advertised on television, it increases their likelihood of choosing their product” (Boulos et al). When children are watching television, they are constantly eating even though they actually may not be hungry. Most of the time, when young people watch TV, they think they are hungry, but in reality, they are not. There have been studies stating that “the food advertising has kind of an unconscious effect and just makes you want to eat more” (Pittman). When children are watching TV, their brain is focusing on the television so they are unaware of how much food they are eating. According to the article, “How Television is Influencing the Obesity Epidemic”, laboratory studies have proven that children eat more when watching continuous television program than watching repeated television program or when they are not watching television. This “mindless...

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