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Preventing Childhood Obesity With Physical Activity

1153 words - 5 pages

Preventing Childhood Obesity with Physical ActivityObesity is the most widespread nutritional ailment in the United States. It has been connected with such problems as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. In the United States, one-third of the population struggles with obesity, which is defined as an excess of 20 percent over the ideal body weight for a given height. Those who suffer from obesity fight back with limited success, trying everything from appetite suppressants and starvation diets to exercise regimens and other weight-loss programs (Andrews, 1996). Obesity is particularly difficult for children because they do not have the tools and knowledge to ensure they do not become overweight. In order to prevent or reverse childhood obesity, children need to be active. It is especially common to find that most of the kids that suffer from obesity have a lifestyle that includes very little exercise.According to Torgan, "The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades; currently one child in five is overweight" (Torgan, 2002). Several factors have contributed to the rising numbers of obese children. Lack of physical activity is the leading cause of obesity in children. Children have decreased their involvement in physical activities, and have increased their participation in sedentary activities.High-calorie foods are a major factor to being obese. Instead of choosing to eat an apple between physical activities, children sit on the couch to watch television while eating handfuls of potato chips. "Foods with higher fat are easier to access as many families tend to eat out or eat on the run, often eating foods in larger portions with a higher caloric intake," says Samuel Gidding, (Keyes Kun, 2003). The era of home cooking has almost disappeared from our society. Parents often stop to buy pizza or suggest that the family eat hamburgers for dinner. Gidding points out that children learn unhealthy eating habits from examples set by parents. In contrary to nutrition education classes, the school's vending machines promote unhealthy eating habits. Instead of selling fruit bars, crackers, pretzels, and milk, they sell candy bars, chips, and soda.Along with eating habits, lack of physical activity is a major contributor to the rise of obese children. A physically inactive, overweight child usually grows up to be a physically inactive, obese adult (Keyes Kun, 2003). According to the National Association for Sport and Physical Education, seventy-six percent of parents think more physical education at school can prevent children from becoming obese. However, "In many school districts physical education is being cut back to provide more time to prepare for standardized testing," explains NASPE Executive Director Judith Young, (Keyes Kun, P, 2003). Children on average watch twenty-four hours of television a week, and another ten to twenty hours playing computer and video games. While watching television,...

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