It would not be wrong to claim that obesity starts from the cradle, follows the child through various growth phases, and may lead to many health complications in adulthood. Children must be provided with appropriate help to avoid health problems that may result due to overweight unconsciousness. This help may be settled by the support of parents and teachers to insist on embracing good eating and living lifestyles.
Parents can achieve good results in their intentions by means of ensuring; they spend a substantial amount of time with their children and guide them accordingly. However, a busy lifestyle does not allow parents to keep an eye on children’s eating chores due to which youth succumbs to obesity. Failure to guide children and control their lives and eating habits can lead to ailments, for example, heart problems, diabetes, cancer, and in extreme cases death.
Considering the nature of the adverse effects these health complications have in life, it, therefore, becomes necessary for families and all caretakers to ensure good preventive measures, rather than waiting until a child’s health condition gets out of hand. In the long run, this fact impacts adults on a personal level making them vulnerable to confront the challenges of the working environment.
The impact of technology and new nutritional styles in the world have really changed people’s lifestyles as well as their eating habits followed by the dependency on processed-packed foods. This largely has been the main contributing factor to the currently existing health complications among young children and young adults. This is a health condition that causes uncontrollable weight gain in the longer run, primarily resulting due to excessive fat accumulation in body tissues.
It is not an acknowledged plight that most people cannot realize the true oppression of obesity that is insidiously paralyzing our younger generations. Health problems pertaining to obesity serve as the gateway to various diseases among which heart disease ranks among the top. Every year, heart disease swells up the US society and prevails by taking in the lives of 5, 00,000 Americans. Caused by the clotting of blood in veins, heart disease does not trigger overnight.
It stems from childhood obesity and targets those children who have little or no physical activity. Being one of the most serious threats to Americans’ health, the concern for physical activity is important when it comes to admitting that the globalized era that lacked exposure to indoor activities has restricted youth to a number of external factors that are responsible for enhancing childhood obesity.
Obesity in Childhood as a Threat to Health
Obesity in children is prevalent in many societies, but the problem of great concern points toward what the research suggests on adulthood obesity. The significance can fathom out that there is a strong linkage that adds up to the distress of the families because even world health bodies such as the World Health Organization (WHO), and the Centre for diseases Control (CDC) (World Health Organization, n.d.) condemn such obesity on the grass root level. Another main reason for concern is that obesity has many associated health complications that are severe to children’s health as well as to adults’ well- being.
Any health complications that individuals undergo in their early childhood always have an effect on late-life development. Some examples to name are the health ailments associated with obesity like hyperinsulinemia, diabetes, cardiovascular complications, atherosclerosis, hypertension, asthma, and high blood pressure. In cases where early death rates are high, it is seen that an immense need to adapt to a healthy lifestyle followed by a balanced diet is what is required by the families. Besides diabetes, obesity can also cause serious cardiovascular problems to children and in cases where the problem lacks early diagnosis and control, it either shows up in adulthood or runs over their lives in childhood.
The prevalence of obesity also causes sleeping apnea, the third common health complication that results from the excessive accumulation of fats in the body. This is a sleeping problem that results due to breathing disorders, which result due to the obstructive nature of the excessive accumulated fats in the body. In most cases, this problem exhibits itself in the form of snoring and disturbed breathing patterns, which make breathing through the nose a problem. Effects resulting from this condition are many and in some cases fatal to the general development of a child.
Globalization and Child Obesity
We cannot put the onus entirely onto the shoulders of globalization and modernization, as some things are and must be retained. Today we have many luxuries that were not available to us long ago. By and large, we have access to every edible item, every leading sports activity is in range of our children in their school premises, and education has been much easier to understand than what it was several decades ago.
After all these factual blessings, in a country where 5 million children and adolescents after being declared obese enter adulthood, they become obese adults who can easily trace their obesity back to the faulty eating habits and misbegotten physical activity patterns established during childhood (Smith, 1999). Globalization had the sole cause for obese children, there would have been obesity seen among other regional territories far more globalized than the US.
Thus, there is not a cause to single out obesity for criticism; instead, there is a list of causes that we are going to discuss in this research paper. Besides causes for being obese, repercussions in the light of positive and negative influences will be discussed. It is very important to start controlling children lives and behaviors in order to explain the importance of eating habits as well as healthy food in everyday life; children who attend private or public schools have a chance to get appropriate support from parents, tutors, and friends in order to overcome challenges and solve the problem of obesity; still, it is necessary to follow a number of strategies and define the causes of obesity in time.
Research and Data (Obesity Prevalence)
Most individuals believe that obesity is a problem in developed countries. Though the results of most research findings prove that obesity is more common among developed countries, a number of developing countries have had their share of effects resulting from obesity as well. For example, research conducted by the American natives in a time span of four years from 1999 revealed that almost sixteen percent of American children under the age of 6-9 were obese.
From the same research findings, there was an increase in expenditure of almost 92 million to support the idea of treatment of obesity cases: the expenses between 1979 to1981 and 1997 to1991 were taken into consideration. In the evaluation of the situation in developing countries like Samoa, it was discovered that a high percentage of children suffer from obesity (74 percent). In comparison, the U.S.’s and Chinas’ figures are as follows: only 34% and 2% respectively have some problems with weight (Pakhare, 2007).
It is purportedly claimed that obesity alleviates more than 300,000 people each year from the face of the earth to which the media recursively pronounces under the aegis of the New York Times. It is reported that
“According to surgeon, Dr. David Satcher, the caveat posed by obesity may soon overtake tobacco as the chief cause of preventable deaths in the United States, because 60 percent of adults in this country are overweight or obese, and 13 percent of children, and some 300,000 Americans die annually from illnesses caused or worsened by obesity.” (New York Times 2001, p.2)
The epidemic has only strengthened its roots by ramping obesity victims up in the past decades. “Between 1976 and 1980, children aged between 2 and 5 were victims of overweight that increased from 5 to 10.4 percent. Whereas between 2007 and 2008, the epidemic increased from 6.5 to 19.6 percent” (CDC, 2010, para. 2), indicates the prevalence of obesity at the rate of one in every three children.
The prevalence rates of childhood and adolescent obesity in the United States has set forth a new trend of doubling the obesity factor in preschool children than what it was thirty years ago. “American children are on the path to grow into the most obese generation of adults in history that has been worsened by the obesity-associated metabolic, orthopaedic, and other health complications tending to increase with the severity of obesity” (Caprio, 2006).
The stereotypical misconceptions that parents often have referred to peculiarities like many unaware parents hold the notion that the more their children will eat, the more they will be healthier and smarter as compared to those children who eat less frequently. Another common misconception is the belief that children actively participating in sports activities lack academic intelligence to pursue a career so it better it is that children remain off to the sports grounds. Similarly, beliefs that the more our children will get protein the taller will they become are the clichés that are accepted and welcomed throughout the world.
A study to determine parents’ concern about the obesity of their children was conducted in one of the health care centers of New York. It revealed astonishing results when it dawned upon the practitioners that seventy four percent of the parents were more concerned about their children’s education and other youth issues than were on health issues. Thus, most of the parents showed lack of interest in their children being “underweight, slightly underweight, normal-weight, overweight, or obese, to which their responded as unconcerned, a little concerned, concerned, fairly concerned, or very concerned” (Guzman, 2008).
By and large, most of the parents remained reluctant to classify their children’s weight among which mothers were the ones who underestimated their children’s body mass index (BMI). A misperception that is caused by human unconsciousness may become a result of two possible conditions that Guzman (2008) sets forth as either the mothers themselves are overweight to be concerned about their children’s obesity, or that they are unconscious to the level that they take their children’s BMI for granted. Whatever reason is considered, there is a need to educate parents, particularly mothers, about the association obesity and it possibility to be identified as a result of physical and emotional health syndromes.
Watching Television as a Cause of Obesity
Besides appetite the daily chores of a child also has a profound impact upon his habits that are dependent upon day to day routine. Either in schools during the lunch time or at home having meals, overweight children are governed by an epidemic that does not spread from the dangerous streets or parks but is disseminated even when they are under the supervision of their parents.
The relation between watching television and children obesity is unique but still it is not a new concept. Children have been fond of passing their leisure time in front of television, most likely grabbing potato chips, burgers, and coke for decades after the invention. However, what is new is the theoretical research that this epidemic enforced health care practitioners to conduct. At this level, some researchers have been able to present “three causative theories that define the association between obesity and television watching” (Gard & Wright, 2005, p. 62).
The first theory in the cause of establishing the association between television and obesity proves that any deskbound or inactive activity displaces physical activity thus promotes obesity. The second theory is a clear illustration of how “television viewing causes children to snack on high-fat junk food more often, perhaps because of the advertising for these products, which children are exposed to” (Gard & Wright, 2005, p. 62). The third theory is the fending off for watching television according to which television does not cause any physical inactivity as there are other deskbound activities that children are involved in, and less calories are burnt during such deskbound activities.
Television viewing is not the main reason behind being overweight. The key reason of obesity is the fact that children eat more and move less. Blasi (2003) points out that
“Most experts agree that watching excessive amounts of television is a significant risk factor associated with obesity because almost half of children ages 8-16 years in the US watch three to five hours of television daily. The dilemma is that children who are the most overweight watch the most television and eat too many snacks with a high fat content.” (p. 321)
Fatty Food as the Cause of Childhood Obesity
Obesity begins with the ‘energy intake’ phenomenon where energy expenditure and energy balance are the two important aspects which define the main obesity rule, that is “children eating more empty calories and spending fewer calories through physical activity are more likely to be obese than other children” (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). There is a difference between fast food and junk food that lies at the onset of proteins and fats.
Foods high in protein can be defined as fast food with calories and fats. Children’s energy intake remains imbalance on the side of consuming little energy and preserving more and results in making dense conservations of energy availability that is further heightened by high-calorie foods and drinks during lunch hours. Single parents who support the idea of making fast food also contribute child obesity by means of preserving energy.
It is not a necessary supposition that junk food is a quick compensate of regular quick meals prepared in a nick of time. Junk food preference might be a result of eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. It can be also regarded as an addiction to compensate the void left by the deficit of proper meal. Eating disorders are the result of psychological problems that the child may experience, and the parent may be aware of. What parents can do at this stage to protect their children from obesity is to provide healthy food either cooked at home or prepared in accordance with the ‘Dietary Guidelines for Americans’. Parents must not build barriers with their children as their main purpose is to support children and keep them far from fatty intake at schools. Ordinary provision with fruits and healthy products may demonstrate how careful parents could be.
Parents as well as teachers ought to play a significant role in shaping up children’s food habits and motivate them to participate in physical or sport activities. An appropriate nutritive food plan has to be created in order to explain children the basics of healthy life. It is not always possible to understand the reasons of why health plays an important role in life and how food may influence human health. This is why the benefits of healthy eating should be regarded by students: there is no place for some stereotypical notions, still, there is a burning need of captivating literature and physical activities.
Apart from the many health complications which are caused by obesity, the worst part of being obese has the form of psychological torture. The vast majority of obese children face much discrimination from peers who are supposed to help them develop their self- esteem. Research studies show that if the obesity problem persists into adulthood, the majority of individuals face many social-economic problems in their life (Burniat, 2002, p. 143).
This is because the society has a discriminatory tendency and considers slim individuals being more appropriate for work and able to choose any occupation. The condition worsens when it touches upon the relationships in social life. Many obese people lack spouses, and it is possible to meet a single obese woman more frequently than a single obese man (Burniat, 2002).
Most of the consequences related to childhood obesity are evident, still, there are some consequences which are hard to observe. Those which are evident are connected to significant risks to academic and non-academic performance and touch a child’s social and behavioural paradigm. The obesity problem does not land up imposing certain risks to behavioural health, but it is directly connected to what a child learns, perceives, and experiences in context with the emotional well being.
Excessive body weight is a cause to accelerate obesity related disorders ranging from “metabolic, digestive, respiratory, skeletal, and psychosocial problems to type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease risk factors that are appearing in children either for the first time or with greater severity or prevalence” (Daniels, 2006). Obesity in childhood is among one of the reasons of why an increase in morbidity and mortality in adulthood is observed (Jahns & Judge, 2007).
The psychological abnormality of obese children is a common occurrence in most of the schools of the United States, where obese children are socially isolated due to lack of confidence and lower self-esteem. Their self-esteem is hurt when they have a feeling of being unpopular among their peers. As a result, their moral to isolation is reduced. Jahns and Judge (2007) point out that “overweight children in their schools are the most common victims as well as the perpetrators of bullying behaviour than their normal weight peers” (p. 672).
Children’s behavioural and social problems can be traced back to health issues, where majority of the tragic consequences of everyday bullying in schools incur due to obese body image. Obesity plays a dominant role in bullying and is regarded as one of the reasons for why obese kids are the victims of harassment promoted by their classmates. It is the physical appearance that affects the kids in sustaining healthy relationships with their peers, and physically motivates them to establish a link between movement and cognitive development (Whitehead & Hoover, 2000). But, in overweight children, it is observed that negative impressions are more lasting and influence their behaviour pessimistically.
Tracing back to the behavioural and psychological plights developed in childhood, the problem of childhood obesity is evaluated as a ‘ticking time bomb’ that points towards obese children for the future obesity (Gard and Wright, 2004, p. 18). Being described as the one of the least studied clinical syndromes in pediatric medicine, obesity has two main causes that phase overweight and enhance obesity and overeating and inadequate physical activity (Gard & Wright, 2004). Childhood obesity is not restricted to target those suffer from obesity but aims at encompassing those kids “who steadily gain weight but are not yet obese. Such children are also considerable as they are likely to have high blood pressure, with a diagnosis of hypertension” (Dalton, 2004, p. 38).
Long-Life Impacts of Obesity
Myriad perspectives links children obesity to the changing and busy lifestyle trends and social environment of the United States demands. These demands are all about visualizing the threat that this fast growing epoch of childhood obesity holds for the long-term physical and social health of our youth. The social aspect linked to the obesity is that it spirits the psychological well being of an obese child away, thereby posing the most serious threat to the child. The fact that one out of every third child is fat is a caveat resting on the decision taken by a government or society to combat the epidemic.
The epidemic of poor health in childhood is not necessarily revealed through the visible signs of obesity. In other words, it is not necessary that an obese child who shows off some good signs of health (concentration skills or getting good grades) is likely not to be affected from the hazards of obesity. Even if they are in the average student list, there is a possibility that they are suffering from some serious psychological disorders, which can only be unveiled through analyzing the social circle of the children.
The obesity problem is not the only one that prevents emotional or social development of a child, still, it is one of the most significant aspects that influences the psychological world of a child. Within a short period of time, children become the victims of hidden shame and guilt that indirectly associate with their subconscious. Unfortunately, such impact is directed to the child as well as to his/her family by means of sweeping them through the undefined shadows of embarrass and shame. Dalton (2004) mentions that “an expert committee studying obesity evaluation and treatment noted that owing to the common belief that obesity results from laziness or lack of willpower, overweight children and their families often feel embarrassed and ashamed” (p. 13).
Embarrassment would not make any sense if obesity has not been perceived as discrimination criteria. Apart from the families, the children who also possess a sense that indicates that they are socially aware of the standards that mark them according to their size and shape by age three or four. Many children acquire the sense to be distinguished as good and bad even in kindergarten (Dalton, 2004). Social humiliation is developed as a response to the attitude that is perceived from their social circles or swarm with social ridicule or rudeness.
It was discovered that modern children find it appropriate to-
“Associate obesity with a variety of negative characteristics, such as laziness and sloppiness that scores of school-age children rate fat figures as possessing numerous negative traits: poor health, friendlessness, ugliness, meanness, laziness, argumentativeness, dirtiness, stupidity, and sadness. Preschool children also demonstrate prejudicial attitudes and behavior toward obesity; they ascribe more negative characteristics than positive ones to fat rather than to normal figures, and more to fat female than to fat male figures.” (Dalton, 2004, p. 179).
A number of factors considering food habits and eating patterns of the children are regarded as the main causes of obesity. Obviously, lack of physical exercise and sports activities adds up to the obesity of children. The main catalyst in children overweight is the junk food that many of us don’t give a privilege to think about.
Obesity Prevention Strategies
Due to the adverse nature of problems that result from obesity, it is important for parents to adopt strategic measures to evaluate the rapid gaining of body weight. Although the chosen activity may be hard to complete due to various lifestyle patterns adopted by individuals, it is important for everyone to note that preventive medicine is better than curative medicine. Majority of parents have communication problems with their children as concern obesity (Mikhailovich & Morrison, 2007). Communication is a great tool to positively motivate children to adopt a healthy lifestyle in case it is utilized properly. In order to explain the exact impact of eating habits, parents should establish a number of communicative channels with their children and envisage a clear picture of how their unhealthy habits may influence their personalities.
Any prevention intended to fight this epidemic is observed in case a teacher starts developing the sources with the help of which misperceptions made by parents are improved. At the initial level, it is important to disseminate as much important information to parents as possible on the onset of adopting key practices. Winter (2009) admits that “a well-known fact that parenting styles set the environmental and emotional context for children’s development, thus four classic parenting styles helpful in identifying parent-childhood obesity behaviour have been identified, authoritarian, permissive, authoritative, and neglectful or uninvolved” (p. 306).
Recent studies ramp up to find out how different eating styles determine different parent-child relationship. It has been found that parents who have authoritarian attitude towards their children eating habits are more health conscious than the ones who are uninvolved or permissive. The consequence is that such children who are governed by authoritative mode on eating behaviour are more obese and junk eaters than the parents who exert influence by other means. The most appropriate option is to make a child a conscious eater by exerting moderate authoritative styles on particular eating habits. Such approach should help to maintain healthy parent-children relationship and make children aware of their self-control over appetite.
Preschool Parental Intervention
Those factors that contribute in making our children obese are the predicament that rings alarming bells in our schools, particularly pre-schooling. So the comparison between private and public pre-schooling is what makes us to reason out a true picture of how obesity wades into the life a child. The foremost factor that requires preschool intervening includes parents’ education and research. Parents must be aware of their child’s total body mass index weight status and must be able to categorize their children before health practitioners so that they fit in the growth chart. Nutrition education is important, and the teachers’ task remains to be crucial as they should help children reason out that being overweight is no longer an aesthetic issue; it is a serious health issue that must be dealt with utmost concern.
Our health patterns have failed in reckoning childhood obesity and over-weight, when it comes to illogical stereotypical clichés that parents have as a priority in the international health settings. However, at this point what is expected as the first step towards the problem of children obesity is the cooperation of parents at the central level. By mean of cooperation, parents should reckon the chosen issue seriously. The setback is that despite awareness of what obesity brings to the younger generation, parents do not respond in a serious manner, and even if they do, they never realize and reckon their children as obese.
This is the first serious matter regarding childhood obesity that must be dealt with utmost concern. Thus, it is the responsibility of the local health care practitioner to raise awareness among the parents about their children obesity. Some role ought to be played by the school teachers in getting parents’ consciousness to recognize that their children’s health needs serious attention and to make them realize that their children are really obese.
Community based intervention
Among one of the several preventive strategies to combat obesity is the community based intervention that plays a significant role in developing self-consciousness in the obese children and adults (hosts). This approach works at various levels. First, it creates a kind of determination with the help of which an epidemic may be identified. With the help of effective interventions of the community settings, the hosts combat obesity in an inward as well as outward manner.
Inward manner is characterized by adults who are well aware of the psychological pitfalls they are going through due to obesity. Outward or social awareness is achieved by taking the stereotypical discriminatory behaviour of other people too personal. Saunders and Harrison (2007) asserts it as
“The determinants of health events that influences obesity includes causative agent exposures (i.e., excess calorie food availability), host behaviors (i. e., individual decisions not to exercise or to over-eat), host characteristics (i. e., age, developmental level, lifestyle factors) and the environmental context (i. e., lack of social support, access to health care service).” (para. 10)
Prevention of obesity is a global concern that questions various levels of primary and secondary impediment. Primary prevention does not involve the suspicion of being obese among those who are vulnerable to overweight and may adopt a number of strategies and active measures which are limited to prevent obesity through personal nursing and pathological approaches. Following health awareness campaigns, exercise, and dietary counselling, self-help guidance about nutrition is considered to be one of the primary prevention strategies to acquire the balance needed to wipe down obesity.
When self-help is not sufficed to combat this epidemic, health care provider is appointed to intervene at this level that is defined as the secondary level of prevention. At this stage, the health care provider or counsellor roots out through investigating early diagnosis, and ends up in discovering effective remedies for affected hosts. Ho et al (2006) identifies one more level of prevention under which interventions with disabilities may be associated with obesity problems like hyperlipidemia, hypertension, ect.
Physical activity is another important remedy to this disease. Because of through physical activities, the body is able to utilize a substantial amount of calories the accumulation of which is the primary cause of obesity. Exercise should go with regulation of the sedentary behaviours. For example, too much of watching television or playing of games does not require manual movements and energy use. In addition, parents must encourage exercise among their children; something they can achieve through developing workable exercise schedules for their children (Shanley &Thompson, 2006).
All the above strategies are fruitless if a person does not take dietary precautions. Majority of individuals love to take foods that they perceive to be sweet. One thing that they fail to acknowledge is that some food has very high calories and fat content. In regard to this fact, it is very important for parents to ensure they have control over their children’s diets: what they can achieve through discouraging foods with a lot of fats and calories and encouraging consumption of nutritive food that is rich in important supplements which are necessary for a healthy body (Akhtar-Danesh, Dehgan, & Merchant, 2005).
Mass participation in physical activities is what American sports in private and public school aims at. Contemporary youth is less athletically involved in sports in comparison to young people between the 1980s – 1990s. Talent development of sports is so far the best program for triumphing over the epidemic of obesity in which all children continue participating. Youth sports programs are the best strategies to fight against obesity as it helps to perform a serious role in being physically active. The plight lies at the idea of ‘least concerned’ schooling that does not promote sports activities by giving chances to young people. On this particular stage, sport coaches must understand their responsibility to shape a new generation and promote the ideas of healthy lifestyle.
Corrigan (2000) points out some of the fundamental traits of contemporary children that certainly go in a cycle to prove obesity encompasses children bad habits. Children play less sport than they are supposed to; it means their indoor activities are more aggravated than they should be. Fast developing of indoor activities and less attention to outdoor sports illustrate only some interest in physical activities which are followed by undeveloped sporting skills. Such attitude to physical activities results in loss of confidence and inappropriate grades that lead to overweight and chubby children.
Child Care Settings
The reason of the continuous growth of obesity at an alarming rate can be held upon the insufficient attention that already handful child day care centres focus on the problems of child weight. The inadequate dormancy that such day care settings pay towards the energy balance between children’s daily dietary intake and their physical activity reveals that little interest has been paid to this subject. Child care facilities at contemporary level have limited knowledge when it comes to assess the nutritional quality of meals and snacks that children daily are given in these settings.
There is no doubt that there are the standards which are applied generously in child care settings, but the extent to which they ought to be in coalition with the nutrition standards or physical activity offerings are not governed. Highlighting this issue, Story et al (2006) asserts that child care facilities that are regulated by states vary widely in accordance with the weak state standards that are insufficient to govern physical activity and nutrition standards to combat obesity. Thus what is recommended is a measure with the help of which the total amount of time that is given to a child to promote physical activities may be analyzed (Story et al, 2006).
When we talk about obesity prevention strategies, we also inculcate the probability or likeliness of being overweight. However, it does not mean we have reduced obesity to affect and impede the normal growth rate of a child. But what is suggested is to maintain a particular amount of energy that is utilised in balancing a healthy weight, while at the same time meeting, all the essential nutritional needs of children are discussed. The goal that has to be supported by the centres under consideration is to promote certain growth and constant development of activities which are characterized by excessive weight gain (Story et al, 2006).
One reason for the inability to understand childhood obesity is that child care centres depend upon the “Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) that is responsible for providing a number of federal funds for food that is available for children in special child care homes and centres supported by Head Start programs (Story et al, 2006). Dependence on the CACFP is not disparaging as long as day care facilities are intended to share their economical burden in the form of expenses. But still, this dependence on the programs under which the calories count is also considered to be a kind of responsibility for the CACFP that is not a positive sign in the chosen child obesity program.
The Learning to Eat Concept
In order to eradicate the epidemic physically, it is important to alleviate its social norms which are possible only through diffusing the process of attitude and learning. The concept demands a complete condemnation of its persecution and branding at the grass root level. It means to condemn labelling obese children that goes with the common perceptions which people usually place in context with obesity.
This is something beyond stereotyping that encourages obese people to cope with their own obesity problem through various psychological treatments like taking mental imagery of comprehensive charts, encompassing obese people, getting leaner day by day, and so on. Thus, through interactive help and guidance of how and what an individual experiences, obesity can be controlled in a limited manner.
For example, a person X who is unable to adapt healthy eating patterns due to his overeating habits can seek assistance from mind body spirit counselling that involves the cooperation of free will and determination. By attending different therapy sessions that focus and over emphasize on the negative consequences of his poor eating habits, he is able to get rid of his unhealthy eating trends. This requires “the knowledge to make choices shaped by organization of intelligence and environmental stimuli” that children often lack (Kosa-Postl, 2006). What children have is the dependency and trust factor on an individual who can be further highlighted through parents’ coordination.
It is easier to help children to reshape their thoughts and to make them learn about how good judgments are made and how they can work. Since children’s thought processes are more flexible than those of adults, it is easier to control their habits along with their capacity to understand the pros and cons of unhealthy eating patterns, provided they are taken care about the needs and emotions. Children’s mental cognitive processes are easily manageable by their parents, coaches, and elders, therefore this could be utilised best to enhance their inner self-confidence about their bodily image.
Building self-confidence about body image is essential to construct in the mind of a child as it is the psychological construction that goes parallel in building the correct relationship of the child’s mind with his human eating behaviour.
This eating behaviour needs continuous guidance so as to keep his mind active in signalling down if obesity is found. This is also true that “the educational institution is the most common venue to be subjected to negative stereotyping after which countless times teachers have agreed that obese students, particularly children, are untidy (20%), more emotional (19%), less likely to succeed at work (17.5%) and more likely to have family problems (27%)” (Kosa-Postl, 2006). In such an educational setting where morals are instilled in children’s minds, “twenty eight percent of the educated agree that becoming obese is considered as one of the worst things that could happen to a person resulting in peer rejection” (Kosa-Postl, 2006).
Despite the scarcity of school-based intervention programs held at the preschool level, one such program noticed tremendous assistance and encouragement to carry on with the progress of such programs. This was a kindergarten program that “targeted three to five year old minority children enrolled in Head Start programs in Chicago, with the aim of reducing the tendency toward overweight and obesity in African American and Latino preschool children” (Lindsay et al, 2006).
The intervention remained a success when it presented a unique dietary and physical activity curriculum specially designed for preschoolers and their parents to address their families’ dietary and physical activity patterns. Upon sticking the program for two years, children were noticed to have smaller increases in BMI than what they used to have two years ago (Lindsay et al, 2006).
Understanding obesity as a social phenomenon is one thing while generating social inequalities out of obesity is another. However both are interlinked as long as obesity is there. The former, inculcates stereotypical bodily characters, and depends upon the culturally oriented values and ideals whereas the later pertains to class differences of the society. For example, children who belong to high social status are more conscious and possess a clear body image of a fat person as compared to those associated with low social status.
Apart from the social differences, the plight is that this obesity dialogue on which the fate of the American nation rests has been unable to understand the ways to promote ‘quality food’ awareness and physical activity environment, the responsibility to be equally shared with the child care institute and parents. Food awareness is a sensitive issue least bothered and most taken for granted for the reason if it do not left unresolved, what would become of fast food consumer market? With strategies to induce positive eating habits among children, it does not seem necessary to touch the gigantic fast food chains, that don’t even promise quality.
With an infrastructure worth billions and the billion dollar fast food market, how can we expect that which exists within Head Start and CACFP child care settings will make its way down to eradicate obesity? “Even at the cost of many low-income families and minority children who are at greatest risk for obesity” (Story et al, 2006) the regulatory standards work to the extent where governing to such child care settings are concerned.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s Childhood Obesity Task Force Plan
At the onset of Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, it is stated that “60% of all U.S. adults today engage in no physical activity or only irregular physical activity despite ample evidence that higher levels of physical activity and fitness are associated with decreased risk of chronic diseases, as well as increased longevity” (Lee & Paffenbarger, 1996). For most American researchers, obesity begins with the epidemic of inactivity goes with sluggishness closely.
Many Americans blame the US Government for fabricating political chronicles to make the American food culture rotund. However, this time, it seems the obesity epidemic has caught up by some serious policies of eliminating obesity right from the ground root level. It is not that the giant fast food organizations that lead American food market are to be taxed: neither soda machines would be banned from schools nor the weight loss techniques would be disseminated. Instead Americans now have high hopes with the Domestic Policy Council for Michelle Obama’s proposed Task Force Action plan to solve the childhood obesity problem within this generation (The White House, 11 May 2010).
Obama considers the obesity problem with utmost seriousness that her goals and benchmarks are fixed. This time, the commitment would be kept in mind. The Task Force on childhood obesity have seventy strategic recommendations (The White House, 11 May 2010) which can be summarized as follows: the foremost importance the first lady has given to is to the prenatal care, therefore she has developed policies to cope up with the onset of pregnancy. Complete breastfeeding care would be provided to new mothers, equipped with education and guidance at all levels. This would be preceded with ‘on screening timings’ that illustrates the secret doors of obesity which are open straight away from child birth.
Complete dietary guidelines would be promoted and easily accessible to all Americans who would provide a healthy and nutritive selection as well as promotion of food. With an improvising of health care services, health consciousness would be perpetuated to every single American family. Schools as the area that requires utmost attention in context with childhood obesity have to be bothered about the problem under discussion most of all.
Every child would be provided with federally administered quality food during school lunches and breakfasts. Access to quality food was never possible in most of the urban areas of America. And nowadays, everybody will have access to quality food with the price much lower than ever before. Most focussed aspect is the aggrandizement of opportunities for the children to utilize their physical energy in the form of recreational outdoor activities.
Serious health complications do not let us to take for granted those chronic illnesses that require individuals, schools, governmental, and non-governmental organizations prioritize the obesity problem. This is because apart from health complications that obesity leads to childhood obesity, there are many economic impacts on both individuals and countries in. Thus, it is important for all parents to ensure they encourage good eating and living habits which include controlled calorie consumption and continuous exercise. This is why it seems to be the example of the simplest remedy with the help of which it is possible to control the obesity problem.
Controlling obesity is none the less like fighting against plaque. The intensity with which it is proliferating through the United States is a clearly cut indication of how it is spiriting away physical activities of our youth. Obesity in children is not short lived as it leads to the chronic illnesses, social abnormalities, and psychological complexities with adulthood. In this scenario where political factors to alleviate obesity are appreciated with high hopes, it is better to tackle this issue more in a personal manner. Families must consider appropriate behavioural treatment followed by regular clinical assessment, low calorie diet foods, and meal replacement programs for combating this epidemic.
There are many ways to help children become more physically active. However it is not necessary to wade in methods that require extra time and budget as we all have equal commitments with working conditions and environment.
What people can do is to dedicate some time daily for getting our children into exercise: if budget does not allow people getting children into recreational classes for athletes or karate, more evaluations and analysis will be required. Other convenient measures include “turning off the television an extra hour each day and use the time to encourage our children to engage in more active pastimes, which can be as simple as playing tag or dancing to pop music” (Dalton, 2004, p. 119).
Understanding the hazards of obesity is impossible without reminding the teasing and bullying behaviours of children’s towards weight chubby kids. Adults or elderly ones or even professionals who deal with disordered eating habits met in our daily lives are endured to have a worrisome childhood. The physical health problems that most of our colleagues experience are the resultant of an unhealthy childhood littered with bad eating habits and lack of physical activity. From diabetes and heart disease to insomnia and premature death, one thing is common, and that is the prevalence of obesity. “Family studies indicate that when both parents are spontaneously active, their children are more than five times as likely to be active as children with two inactive parents” (Dalton, 2004, p. 52).
In many families it is a common practice that children are dealt to share some responsibility of their parents. Looking after younger the siblings or understanding the internal home environment are considered to be good examples of such responsibilities. Many children are sensitive to have a clear idea about the causes of their obesity, and they can easily relate these causes with their home environment.
The amazing thing is that such children ask about the measures and try to blame their parents for instilling poor eating and exercise habits. It is obvious that no family intentionally disseminates poor eating habits in their children; however those children who blame their parents are the ones who demand authoritarian behaviour as a response to their obesity. A family prior to understanding their obese children must analyze their sensitivity, because in cases it is observed whenever children are misunderstood or neglected, they give rise to psychological diseases like hypertension and depression.
It is depression that sees about the eating habits of children, thereby making them obese at last. It is simply not possible to ‘revolutionize’ obesity; a sudden motivational surge to lose weight has its own consequences such as weakness, low blood pressure, hormonal imbalance and disturbing the metabolism. Thus, a family must adopt moderate strategies to combat obesity. This also fades up any loss of interest in losing weight, and is good for the family members encompassing overweight children to create a home environment with less risk factors. Thus, parents and teachers role start from the altruism to make ‘weight loss’ phenomenon as interesting as possible.
Obesity is not a curse, however it can be a curse if it is left untreated. In society where overweight is not a concern, most of the families endure the hazards of obesity in their homes and offices. There are many epidemics which are difficult to handle with; still, obesity is the one that can be controlled if a person is able to react against it in a serious manner in time.
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