Childhood Obesity: Time To Face The Facts.

1198 words - 5 pages

The rates of obesity in children are rising rapidly, with serious consequences. What are some of the reasons for this incline? What are some of the health factors that are involved, and what can we do to help change this problem?Childhood Obesity: Time to Face the FactsThe facts speak for themselves. Today, one in five school-age children fulfills the classic definition of obesity, weighing 25% more than the ideal for their height and age. In the last decade, the incidence of obesity among children has risen nearly 30% (Brownlee,68). According to experts, they're on the fast track for developing heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure as adults.Why do so many young children have a weight problem? There are several possibilities thrown out there to try to explain the problem or to just shift the blame for the problem. Some children are heavy simply because of genetic factors, some children don't get the exercise they need daily and also a lot of children are not getting the proper nutritional meals that they need to be healthy. What is going on? I believe that it is ultimately the parents who are at fault for this rise in chubby children.In recent years, babies being born have been getting considerably larger, both in length and in weight. This is mostly due to heredity: today's parents are getting taller and bigger than those of years past. Although it is during the last month of a pregnancy that babies gain extra weight, so mothers should watch their eating habits. The babies are growing off the charts, "It's a tidal wave," declares Naomi Neufeld, a pediatric endocrinologist in Los Angeles (Scelfo, 51). Unfortunately, this trend can be directly related to the rise in overweight parents who are having these babies.As long as the child grows with his weight in proportion with his height, all is good. But the problems begin when the parents convince themselves that their quickly growing child isPage 2still okay a few years later. When the child begins school and is still considerably larger than the neighborhood kids, the parents simply state that "he was born big," or is just "big boned." Excuses certainly don't seem to do them any good in the long run, as some exercise and a good role model would.Years ago, kids used to go outside and play after school or hop on their bikes and ride around the neighborhood until it was time for dinner. Sports used to be the ultimate school-time activity with a vast range of events to participate in. But now, parents aren't comfortable with unsupervised outdoor activity and schools eliminate or cut back their physical education classes. As a result, we have a generation of kids who spend their time watching television, playing video games and surfing the internet. The trance-like state associated with these activities slows down their metabolism so much that it's as if they weren't doing anything at all. The slower metabolism certainly won't help burn the excessive calories that was likely to be in...

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