Childhood Obesity Epidemic Essay

2317 words - 9 pages

‘’We don’t have these children 24 hours a day,
they go home, they go out with friends, they are
off all summer and everything about the world …
conspires to undo even the best things that happen
in schools.’’ - - Belkin, 2006

Abstract

This paper describes the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic and the school intervention movement to develop healthy lifestyles and reduce obesity. It discusses the extent to which schools can reduce childhood obesity and the need for involvement of other groups in order to increase the impact that schools can have. The implications of involving families and the federal government are examined with a focus on the role these groups play in supporting the fight against obesity and the school intervention movement. The relevant information for this article came from magazines, industry magazines and newspapers.

The greatest health risk facing children today is not a terrible disease such as Ebola, or an unthinkable trauma such as abuse; it is obesity, which is defined by the medical community as the accumulation of body fat levels above twenty five percent in boys and thirty two percent in girls. While the formula for maintaining healthy weight has never changed — balance the number of calories you consume with the number you burn. A greater portion of
Americans are unable to balance the equation. The levels of childhood obesity have risen in the past decades;

presently twenty five percent of American children are obese with 80 percent of this group destined to become obese adults (Del Marco, 2006).

The growing concern for obesity as a public health concern for children and adults has led to an effort to combat
this disease. This movement is marked by an effort to improve the health content of school lunches. However,
this movement has lacked conclusive evidence to support the thesis that changes in school lunches will result
in the weight loss of children. Although it is essential to target people early in life to prevent unhealthy habits
that may lead to obesity later in life, focusing on schools represents a fragmented effort. Unlike adults who can
make their own health choices, children are dependent on the nutritional environment in which they are raised,
such as their homes, schools or communities. This paper argues that a collective effort from multiple groups
such as schools, governments, and families is needed to address childhood obesity, because an effort by schools
alone will not provide the environment necessary to reduce obesity levels.

Schools

Schools have become the focus of childhood obesity prevention efforts, with an emphasis on the food and beverages served. It is due to the potential impact schools have on children that they have recently become the focus in combating childhood obesity. On any given day in the United States, more than 54 million children attend school where they will consume over 50 percent of their daily calories...

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