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The Epidemic Of Childhood Obesity Essay

1048 words - 4 pages

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...

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