I am submitting my final essay draft for eng102 any help would be great!! Thank you!!
June, 19 2012
Childhood Obesity: Who's to Blame?
With childhood obesity at an all time high, one may ask why or how this happening to our youth? Is it the children themselves? Their parents? Genetics? Media? Whose hand is stirring the pot of this disease-linked epidemic? This paper is designed to inform every one from children to young adults to parents who have children that are of healthy weight or not; to be eye-opening and also hope to correct bad habits among the nation so the future generation of children will have one less thing to worry about in their adulthood.
A root to this epidemic can be traced to the decisions parents of overweight children are making. Parents have a crucial and sometimes difficult role in their children's lives when it comes to choices regarding their eating habits. Some choices parents make can be poor choices when it comes to feeding their children and can be related to the lack of education or even money. The cost of food in America is on the rise and is a contributing factor to the choices parents make when buying their groceries. To eat healthy in America you must be able to afford to buy groceries every few days because most "healthy foods" are raw and can go bad quickly requiring you to only buy a few things at a time. With that being said, a lot of families in America have turned to fast food or frozen foods that can be easily heated up and are usually at a lower cost then that of the raw healthier foods.
The First Lady herself, Michelle Obama, has witnessed this herself and has pushed a campaign at America opening many eyes to childhood obesity. Michelle Obama refers to a convenient store incident that brought to her attention the childhood obesity epidemic. She witnessed a child persuading her mother to buy her "potato chips and a
slurpee" at 11:00pm at night; because of that incident it has opened her eyes to the obesity epidemic. Michelle's theory: parents play a strong role in childhood obesity is a very strong theory; one that many could understand and agree with. If parents could be more aware of the food they are feeding their children; it may be a small but crucial step in solving the problem America's youth is facing.
So one can say that although the food cost in America is rising and parents find it hard to feed their children healthy meals, parents must understand that it does not mean giving in to your children's persuasive behaviors when it comes to food choices. Parents must be parents and teach their children healthy habits and sometimes that means having to say no to your child when at times it is easier to just give in and give your child what he or she desires.
Another cause of this problem is linked to the options of food that schools and day care facilities are offering the youth of this nation. While many American families are forced to enroll their children in a daycare at such a young age it can be hard decision because it is putting your child in the hands of strangers. Parents are forced to trust in these facilities and hope they are being well taken care of. One article in particular entitled "Day Care Food May Contribute To Childhood Obesity" from the Health Guide magazine, basically relates daycare food to childhood obesity. This article states that nearly 82% of American children under the age of 6 are in daycare. "So nutrition, exercise or physical activity and other health issues are all being handled by persons other than the primary parents for a significant number of hours daily." This article is extremely eye-opening and very informative because many parents wouldn't even think about what their children are getting fed when they aren't around and just assume that they are getting healthy and nutritious snacks and meals throughout the day. So with this article putting blame on the daycare and school facilities one may argue that it still is the parents who are to blame for not further looking into what their children are eating or the amount of exercise they are receiving on a day to day basis.
It is unfair to blame just parents or adults of adolescents problems. Many media commercials and advertisements may also be to blame. It is companies goals to direct all their efforts in appealing to the youth and children. With fancy packaging and persuading commercials it would be hard for any child to resist the temptations of such an irresistable item like candy and fat packed sweets. Kids are so easy to persuade and unfortunately commercials and advertisements target these young children and make a profit while doing so. In an article entitled "TV Food Advertisements and Childhood Obesity" by the Health Gal, there was a study that showed overweight and obese children eat more after watching T.V. food advertisements. It found that "today's children are the first generation of Americans projected to have shorter lifespan than their parents." This article contains a lot of statistics that help to support its claim of T.V. advertisements influencing childhood obesity, but while T.V. advertisements are influencing to young children it still can fall back to the parents and their lack of discipline while watching T.V. and eating dinner.
So while there are many articles supporting the different claims of childhood obesity I decided to go further and interview a friend of mine with an obese child. In the interview she explains to me how tough it has been to raise her child knowing he is obese and growing up with numerous health problems because of his obesity. She explained how as a parent she felt the need to give her child everything she could because growing up she didn't have much. She felt that by giving in to her child's wants it would fulfill that void she felt growing up as a child who didn't have much. She didn't know that her few times of giving in to her son's wants for junk food would soon spiral out of control to the point of him being obese. Now she feels guilty and as though she has not been a good mother. Kids are always picking on him at school and she knows life for her son will be a struggle until his weight is better controlled. I found some of her stories she shared to be quite eye opening, because while most articles would like to point the finger at the parents and clearly in her situation it was her who was to blame, you can look further and see that parenting definitely plays a vital role in this obesity epidemic because while she made the parenting choices that led to her son's obesity she made the choices because of her lack of "better things" growing up as a child.
This terrible problem facing society can be reversed. There is still plenty of hope for one-third of the children in this country. In an article entitled "New Steps To Fight Childhood Obesity Taken By CDC", written by Petra Rattue; the CDC is working with state healthcare to identify effective health care and community strategies to support children's healthy eating and active living to fight childhood obesity. The article states that "childhood obesity can be overcome by using innovative approaches to reach low income and minority families." This article was written exactly for the public audience, for people who have and don't have children. By following the CDC's advice and becoming more informed on this issue, people of America- the youth in particular-can rise above this ever growing (no pun intended) problem. Schools and parents as well as the media and marketing and advertising world must all work together to fight this epidemic and try to find ways to educate and get help to those who may need it.
If parents feel they are too uneducated there are many easy switches that can be made in their homes. Parents have a very hard job when they become a parent. There are so many obstacles that can arise in every day life and parents sometimes may be overwhelmed. While life can through some unexpected changes and obstacles parents must remember that they are the parent and that what they do or don't do when raising their children can directly affect them as grown adults. So with that being said some would argue that this childhood obesity epidemic can be the result of child abuse.
Parents often are charged with child abuse for neglecting their children when it comes to the cleanliness of their home. How well the child is bathed and dressed can also be a cause for concern. Schools must inform the law when they feel a child is not being well taken care of and in return this can end up with the child being taken away from the parent and the parent being charged with child abuse. So why then would your child being over weight not be cause for concern? Why would that not be considered child abuse? These questions come up often and perhaps should be further pursued. Parents should be held accountable in regards to poor eating habits and lifestyle, and not just for their cleanliness. Teachers and any other adult who is in direct care of the child must look beyond this and consider other forms of abuse in regards to how kids are being raised, because these children's lives are being so drastically affected by this epidemic and yet it seems America is turning and looking the other way.
There are several articles on the web that offer informative switches and healthier options for their children. One article in particular entitled "Household Routines Linked to Lower Childhood obesity" suggests that there are simple household routines that need to be followed in order to prevent childhood obesity. "Eat dinner as a family six or seven times a week, limit the time the child watches T.V. to less than two hours a day, and make sure he or she gets more than 10.5 hours of sleep a night." The article states that those three simple household routines are associated with an almost 40% reduction in the risk of childhood obesity. With simple steps in your every day life as these why is it that families are struggling with obesity? This article is full of preventative and easy options for families facing this epidemic, and is exactly the sort of thing needed to maybe open the eyes to this alarming epidemic facing America's children.
While there are many articles and different ways to seek help and learn better ways of parenting, it seems that this epidemic should not be such a problem, but it is. Parents are no longer raising families the same as they used to 50 years ago. Both parents are usually having to work outside the home requiring the kids to be in daycare and further causing the family to spend less time together and the parents being tired and overrun with everyday life struggles and stress. The economy has taken a downfall and that has forced many Americans to change their lifestyles.
One of the most eye opening studies on this issue is written about by Roni Rabin. Rabin states "...thousands of children through adulthood found the heaviest youngsters were more than twice as likely as the thinnest to die prematurely...". How would parents react if they knew just this one sentence of well researched and strongly backed information? Would it be enough for them to watch a little more closely what their kids are putting in their mouths? Would it be enough for schools to offer healthier alternatives in cafeterias? Would it be enough for kids to realize what their future may hold and try to make smarter decisions and stay active? One can only hope, and by putting more and more information out there for parents and those contributing to the every day life of kids so that they may be better informed of the dangers this epidemic poses. Childhood obesity is not just something they will grow out of and is something that can be life threatening. It is something that will follow with them through their adult years and continue to be a struggle if it is not addressed early on.
Over one-third of this country's children are overweight and it is a serious problem. People need to be aware of this issue and know the roots of the problem and take responsibility in being proactive if they want to correct this disease-linked and even deadly situation many of America's youth are in. Whether childhood obesity stems from unhealthy eating habits or uninformed parents or even complete disregard for the problem, one can agree with another that all hands are in the pot. Parents must understand their vital role in the choices of what their children put in their mouths. The daycares must be held accountable for their role as well. Parents pay these daycares to take care of their children, not to cause them harm by feeding them unhealthy food and limiting their amount of exercise. America as a nation will need to find better ways to fight this epidemic and get the information out there for the parents and care takers to see. Children are our future and while life can be hectic and a struggle; this childhood obesity epidemic is a major issue facing our children and we need to find a way to overcome it.