Childhood Obesity

The obesity epidemic can no longer be ignored. As of 2016, about 13 million children have been diagnosed with obesity (Understanding). If this trend continues, then future generation will see an increase in medical conditions associated with obesity. It is more likely that a child will become obese as an adult if they are obese as a child (Childhood). This cause and effect must stop before good health becomes desirable lifestyle.

In order to promote good health at a young age, it’s important that children stay consistent. If the children are eating fruits and vegetables at school and then go hone and eat junk food, or vice versa, then they won’t learn what a proper, healthy diet consists of.

Since the public school system has a major impact on kids health, a nutrition program throughout the educational system would guarantee that children are learning to eat right as well a practicing eating right.

In order to solve tis epidemic, a program that promotes healthy living is needed. The best way to reach most children would be through the public schooling system, specifically elementary school. The program would consists of a nutrition class that would teach children what kind of nutrients are in food and how those nutrients affect their bodies.

A key part of the program would be getting kids excited about food; finding a fun and creative way for kids to interact with their food (4). So instead of limiting food, the exposure to food should be increased. Teachers would introduce new foods from different cultures, influencing adventurous eating.

This new program or course would also include interactions with food so that kids learn to be comfortable and confident about the choices they make when eating. During the class, teachers would bring different types of food and have their kids taste test. For example, maybe one day they taste test store bought bread compared to homemade bread and let the kids decide what they prefer. The key here is to get kids away from all the added-sugars found in store bought products.

The program would also consist of physical activities. Instead of running or weight lifting, coordinators would think of activities that kids would enjoy more, like rock-climbing, dodge-ball, kickball, and so forth.

A good way to get kids’ attention is by using technology. Kids spend approximately seven hours a day using some type of technology (Taylor). This new tech savvy generation would connect better if given a way to use technology to enhance their health. By giving them the information need for a healthy lifestyle, it would also be beneficial if the program provided kid with a fit bit to keep track of their activity level.

Research shows that proper nutrition has a direct affect on a child’s physical and philological state (Eitel). It’s important to expose children at a young age to a healthy diet so that they learn the importance of nutrition but also because kids are still growing so a healthy diet is crucial for their health later in life.

It is also proven that kids learn by doing hand-on activities and by leading by example (Eitel). The program would incorporate both of these as the kids preform physical activities and by experimenting with different foods in the classroom. Leading by example is going to be related to the teacher as well as the parents. Kids learn from observation so if they see teachers and parents eating carrots instead of potato chips, then they will learn that carrots are socially acceptable (4).

Other solution in attempt to stop this epidemic would include limiting screen time, limiting fast food, promoting healthy sleeping habits, and so on. I believe that the best way to end childhood obesity is to advocate healthy living in every aspect of this life, starting with school because that’s where they spend the majority of their time.

As a nation we need to start this movement now. If let this epidemic slide by, then kids are soon going to have to deal with heart conditions, high blood pressure, diabetes, and even cancer. Take responsibility and lead the way by setting good examples and the reward of health is priceless.

 

References 

“4 Ways to Help Your Children Have a Happier Relationship with Food.” Psychology of Eating. The Institute for the Psychology of Eating, n.d. Web. 09 May 2016.

“Childhood Overweight.” – The Obesity Society. Obesity Society, May 2014. Web. 09 May 2016.

Eitel, Joseph. “Factors Affecting Early Childhood Development.” LIVESTRONG.COM. LIVESTRONG.COM, 27 Jan. 2015. Web. 09 May 2016.

Taylor, Jim. “Children’s Immersion in Technology Is.” Psychology Today. N.p., 10 Sept. 2012. Web. 09 May 2016.

“Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic.” Understanding the American Obesity Epidemic. American Heart Associate, 9 Mar. 2016. Web. 09 May 2016.

Advertisements