There is an epidemic so fierce, it is impacting families from California to Maine. It is not the
Ebola epidemic. It is childhood obesity. An estimated 1 in 7 children between the ages of 6 to 17
are overweight and/or obese. That is a staggering 14 percent. Compared to 5 percent
almost 20 years ago. Hispanics, African-Americans, and American Indians, females to
males are more prone to this devastating medical condition. So many divided on an
issue that everyone can see; the health and welfare of children. Obesity can be
controlled and possibly maintained. At what cost and how many are willing to pay the
price to fight this disease?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) the average American is 23
pounds overweight. A person is considered overweight or obese if his or her BMI (Body
Mass Index) is greater than 30. It cost the America Government and additional $4,879
per female and $2,646 per male for public healthcare who are overweight or obese.
Obesity factors include poor dietary habits, genetic predisposition, family lifestyle,
socio-economic status and child’s ethnicity. Children who are overweight or obese are
not necessarily overeating, but lack the balance of physical activity to burn off excess
calories off. One issue is that most families develop what most researchers label as “fast
food habits” due to either time restraints for eating a good meal or in the economy now
with families who have 2 working parents without any time to cook. Fallibility always
rest with the individual, but parents are obligated to teach right and wrong to children in
the household. Does living a healthy lifestyle fall under that statue? Research shows
that if children are obese before the age of 8, more than likely they will live life as an
overweight or obese adult. Some parents say physical education is necessary in school
but teachers lack the time and schools lack fund due to the “no child left behind
legislation” which takes up time to prep students for testing from other courses.
Most children are products of the American public school system. School
systems nationwide are feeling the economic crunch along with the parents who send
their children to be taught. Districts everywhere are faced with daunting task of
“balancing the budget.” Schools are forced with cost of hiring new teachers, more
students attending with no increase in income, creating a equal academic environment.
Unfortunately school lunch is placed on the back burner in budget meetings. In the
United States, the average cost of 1 school meal, K-12, is $3 (Newman, Ralston, and
Clauson). It is expected to rise 10% every year. In addition, using more healthful food
will add another estimated $1.50 to each meal. Some say the added nutrition is
necessary for children to be healthy; nutrition experts speculate most healthy food...