Addressing the Issue of Childhood Obesity
Addressing the issue of Childhood Obesity
The good old days, when there was no big screen or flat screen TV, we used to spend our time outside home. Telephone was a rarity; so people used to travel or spend time in neighborhood in their spare times. There were no computers, laptops, iPods or cell phones; so the major sources of entertainment were evening get together, park walks, bicycle rides and skating were our favorite activities. This era was the peak of childhood amusements like jacks, hide and seek and kick ball. Bicycle was the most preferred medium for almost everywhere I had to go. My times were pleasurably more inclined towards physical activities, and amusements were limited to physical outreach.
Today, children of new generations are surrounded by most technically equipped gadgets that have completely revolutionized the way they spend their childhood. Sitting at home, over the LCDs, they can play games that are truly addictive. Moreover, they can have access to almost everything they want to know. Cell phone is the biggest addiction of new generation. Computers and laptops have become a necessity rather than a luxury. Today’s child is technically more informed than our generation. But the cost this generation is bearing could be attributed to their physical appearances where glasses and obesity have become a common problem in America. Since computer games have obsessed the new generation, the trend of street games is essentially disappearing.
We cannot simply blame computer games for limiting the physical activity. There are other social aspects as well that are restricting children from physical enjoyment opportunities. Over last five to ten years, street crimes have doubled in America, and parents are certainly worried about the security position in the cities. They are afraid to let their children out alone, and our conscious about them even when they are at school. Consequently, parents have to equip their surroundings with sufficient gadgets that could keep them busy within the premises. This makes children from new generation spend most of their time watching TV, surfing internet, playing video games and chatting or texting with friends. Consequently, irregular eating patterns have developed, and now snacks and fast food are routine items for children today.
Till the twentieth century, the tradition of families sitting together and having meals altogether was considered a ritual. Normally the representative of a family earned bread for everyone, and women were accustomed to the nourishment of children and home related activities. Dinners were served once every evening and each member of the house was accustomed to accompany everyone. But since the obsession of computing and personalization has increased because of cell phones and internet, children prefer spending their times alone since a generation gap has been created because of difference in brought up environment. Therefore, they prefer eating alone in their bedroom, especially because their eating habits have been altered previously due to irregular consumption of snacks and other junk food (Kiefer, 2004). As a result, overweighting in schools is becoming a regular problem.
In high schools, it is becoming evident that people are quite dominantly involved in playing computer or other games, and using computers for social communication. Such children account to 25% which is only expected to rise. In this context, bike riding, basketball or skating is replaced by motor biking, gaming or TV. Unfortunately, the access to mobile phones have furthered contributed to widespread usage of social networking websites, so now there is a rare need of physical interaction (Bodel, 2010).
There are many studies that have correlated the excessive use of these technical items with irregular eating patterns. A study from Stanford prevention research center indicated that children that spend more time on watching media and related activities are more likely to consume unhealthy food and develop irregular patterns. Many of them might not even stop eating just because they get so involved in the media that there’s nothing distracting their eating routine. Similarly, watching TV also contributes to poor eating habits, and bad food choice which is increasingly witnessed among young children at metabolic rates (Bodel, 2010).
There are a larger number of children, in American, who are overweight and unhealthy, according to the center for disease control and prevention (2010). Statistically, the figures are unwelcoming. 30.3% of kids, aging between 6 and 11 are overweight. In teenage, the rate of obesity is around 15.3%. Out of all these figures, overweighing boys account 30.4% more than overweighing girls. Moreover, this problem majorly prevails among low-income families. These gadgets have essentially changed the paradigm of childhood activities, and now children are more interested in laptops, cell phones and iPods than basketball, skaters or probably a bicycle. The joy of soccer is now instigated within FIFA games. Being in school could guarantee a day or two of gym but, at home, exercising equipment would probably be expensive than a cell phone or iPod. Now physical activities are essentially restricted to school systems. If you are not on the football team or into athletics, you are probably pursuing a lost cause. Parents specially have to force their children into some physical activities like bicycling or gym in order to keep them physically healthy and strong.
Over the period of last four five years, since the economic conditions have deteriorated globally, schools have become more conscious about their spending. Funding to support the physical education programs is not there anymore because of so many cut backs within the school systems. Physical activities are no longer in the top priority for the schools (Bradley, 2010). Only 6 % of school in the U.S. offers daily physical education, according to Debbye Turner’s Reports. The N.A. for sports and physical education recommends 2 ½ hours of physical activity in a week for elementary schools and 4 hours for middle and high school students. Unfortunately, sports teams are there but the cost of inducing a child into sport teams has raised up to $500.00 per child. The administration is now focusing more towards academia rather than physical fitness of children; hence while admitting a child in the school, they are more interested in testing verbal, writing and quantitative skills rather than physical capabilities (Chaffins, 2010).
These conditions have provoked obesity at higher levels in the country. Parents are worried about the present conditions of their children and fear about the future especially since their bodies are physically not tuned for healthy life. Schools have little resources to be allocated in this regard, so parents are forced to make other arrangements to keep their children involved in extracurricular activities. Many parents have adopted strict behaviors to limit their children’s access to televisions. They follow a strict quota system rule at their homes to provide specific hours of television or computer access to their children. Such parents usually keep their children involved with them in home related work so that they get better grooming opportunities along with physical moment. This also makes them realize and use different senses they are blessed with, which could otherwise be damaged because of obesity.
CDC (2010) Addressing childhood obesity through nutrition and physical activity. February 12, 2011, from http://www.cdc.gov
Hobson, Katherine (2010) How IBM aims to tackle childhood obesity. February 12, 2011 from http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/05/06/how-ibm-aims-to-tackle-childhood-obesity/
Bodel, Mary (2010) Causes and effects of childhood obesity. February 12, 2011, from http://ezinearticles.com/?Causes-and-Effects-of-Childhood-Obesity&id=5353225
Obesity (2011) Publications. February 12, 2011, from http://www.obesity.org/publications/publications.htm
Fox News (2011) Study: Global obesity rates double since 1980. February 12, 2011, from http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/02/08/study-global-obesity-rates-double/
Chaffins, Amy (2010) School activities on budget cut list. February 12, 2011, from http://www.pctribune.com/main.asp?SectionID=1&SubSectionID=16&ArticleID=8136&T
Bradley, Charlie (2007) Becoming involved in school: The benefits of extracurricular activities. February 12, 2011, from http://www.associatedcontent. com/article/229388/becoming_ involved_in_school_the_ben…
Athro (2010) What does “Genetic” mean. February 12, 2011, from http://athro.com/evo/gen/ genetic.html
Kiefer, Heather Mason (2004) Empty seats: Fewer families eat together. February 12, 2011, from http://www.gallup.com/poll/10336/Empty-Seats-Fewer-Families-Eat-Together.aspx
McDonald Ruthe (2011) Black women and obesity. February 12, 2011, from http://www.bellaonline.com/ articles/art21851.asp
DeNoon, Daniel J. (2010) Michelle Obama’s Plan to End Childhood Obesity Epidemic. February 12, 2011, from http://www.medicinenet.com/ script/main/art.asp? arti
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