Over the last five years, obesity in childhood has increased in many countries in the world. It has become a global problem that needs an immediate solution. The World Health Organization reports that childhood obesity is dangerous as that it has life-long consequences. These consequences are observed from different aspects. Thus, childhood obesity leads to serious diseases, early mortality, and low quality of life. Obese children are more vulnerable emotionally than their peers with normal weight. There are different causes of childhood obesity. Among them, there are bad nutrition, air and water pollution, and bad genetics of parents. Childhood obesity is cost-effective for the society. Obese children need special health care and social insurance systems that are rather expensive for the government. Nevertheless, the community, parents, and doctors consider that childhood obesity should be stopped in order to keep the nation healthy.
Childhood Obesity is a Global Problem
Historically, obese children were observed in developed countries where children had no shortages of food. However, the scope of this problem is changing. Many developing countries such as Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, and others also face this problem. This disease has become a real worldwide epidemic that needs a thorough treatment and concern of physicians. Mahmood and ?Arulkumaran (6) reported that in Mexico, for example, the number of overweight children in pre-school children was about 16.7%; school children were obese in 26.2%; and the percentage of adolescent children was even higher than the previous groups and it amounted to 30.9%. The number of obese children in the USA is one of the highest in the world. This problem has already captured minds of health care workers for many decades. According to various researches, the current number of obese children in the United States is 31.7% (More 221).
Childhood obesity is evidence that children who are obese have to live with this disease for many years, mostly the whole life. However, some statistics indicates that the level of childhood obesity is not really worse than 5 years ago, though the rising is still observed. Some studies report that the level of childhood obesity in 25 countries is levelling off (Mahmood and ?Arulkumaran 7). Childhood obesity may vary in accordance with their country of living, socioeconomic status, education of their parents, genetics, and some other factors. The practice has shown that children who are obese are more vulnerable to other diseases than those with the normal weight. Affected children should be observed in their early years in order to prevent obesity.
Factors Affecting Childhood Obesity
There are many various factors that lead to childhood obesity. Nowadays, children have become less active than some decades ago. The invention of the Internet has limited childhood activities. They prefer to stay at home in front of their TVs and computers instead of spending time outside. The decrease of childhood activity is one of the main problems in today’s social environment. Children who go in for sports are less addicted to obesity. Computer games have substituted active games that allow children to spend more calories and breathe the fresh air. The impact of technology in schools also prevents children from physical activities. Nowadays, children do not have to go to libraries because they have an easy access to online books. Actually, children spend very little efforts to receive what they want. They can even order food by phone from the nearest Chinese restaurant instead of going there.
The modern rhythm of life does not allow controlling their children. It seems that modern children do not need any advice. On the contrary, parents, teachers, and adults often ask children as far as new technology is concerned. The implication of technology in every American home, for example, has not only positive effects, but negative ones as well. The decrease of physical activity makes a lot of damage to the children’s health. As a result, many children are overweight and obese. According to McMillan (143), the misuse of technology empowers children to forget about real communication and live activity. Many experts consider that children spend a lot of time in front of screens such as TV, computers, notepads, and cell phones. This lifestyle impacts children’s health, social and emotional growth, brain development, and weight gain. These are just a few results of the new technology use and how it affects children health.
The Way of Eating
The way of eating is an important factor that influences childhood obesity. Michael Pollan investigates that American children are addicted to fast food (Keating). It is not surprising because the United States has a broad range of fast food restaurants that provide cheap and fast food. Children do not think about a healthy way of eating. However, their eating habits have led to the increase of obesity in the last five years. Healthy food does not usually taste well; that is why, children prefer to eat a cheeseburger or pizza instead of eating fruits and vegetables, which contain a lot of vitamins. Many experts blame childhood obesity on the American culture of eating. According to Burnett, American culture has drastically changed since 1960s. Since then, American eating habits have changed as well. Many poorer families cannot allow their children to eat fruits and vegetables daily. As a result, they eat cheap food that contains a lot of cholesterol and fats. The American food industry has offered low-fat foods for years. Nowadays, scientists have come to the conclusion that low-fat or cholesterol-free food are harmful for people’s health.
Primary school children and adolescents often ignore parents’ advice. On the contrary, they pursue eating choices of peers in school and in their communities. Many children are influenced by their environment, which often offers bad choices. If a child goes to school where being healthy is not in trend, most of them make a choice to be obese like their own preference. School children who are less active today than before are often addicted to obesity because of their way of living. Parents, teachers, and health care workers try to change this behavior, but they do not have much success in it. High consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and fast foods are main factors in children’s way of eating that cause obesity.
Some Other Factors that Influence Childhood Obesity in the Last Five Years
The factors discussed above are not the only ones that cause childhood obesity. The survey asserts that children have no choice to walk along the streets, for example, because most American neighborhoods are bad-planned for pedestrians. They are only good for transportations. Thus, there are practically no well-equipped roadways for bicycles where children can safely ride a bicycle. In Germany and Netherlands, for instance, riding a bicycle has become a part of the national culture (Burnett). Thus, authorities should overview an ability to improve neighborhoods with more cycle tracks.
Another cause for childhood obesity is the lack of exclusive breast feeding. Recent data from studies prove that the type of feeding of infants during the first six months of life is very important for their future health and weight (More 113). Most healthcare professionals recommend nutrient composition of breast milk is perfect for children’s growth and health. In the further development, parents should over-restrict children’s diet. Parents are responsible for children obesity and overweight, especially for infants and toddlers. Early-life risk factors for childhood obesity should be considered by parents. Mahmood and ?Arulkumaran (104) assume that the lack of sleeping also causes childhood obesity. Thus, parents should keep under control duration of their children’s sleeping hours.
The study observed that rising childhood obesity rates in the last five years may result in lower life expectancy. This decline was last seen during the Great Depression. Many professionals hope that new technology and medical approaches will improve the situation with childhood obesity in the future. However, this success is not possible without nutrient dieting, physical activity, and appropriate sleep. The research asserts that in the United States of America about 20-30 percent of children under the age of 15 are obese (More 235). The rapid growth of childhood obesity in the last five years has resulted in an increase of other serious diseases such as type-2 diabetes, coronary heart disease, cancer, and others. More (236) argues that the increase of childhood obesity rates in the USA may have dangerous consequences, such as early mortality. Moreover, this tendency could continue over the next decades, which is the greatest threat for future generations.
The rise of childhood obesity in the last five years has become a global problem, which needs an immediate solution. Childhood obesity leads to serious diseases, early mortality, and low quality of life. In order to keep the nation healthy, healthcare professionals and parents should do their best to stop childhood obesity. Obese children need special health care and social insurance systems to protect them from dangerous consequences that may destroy their health and lives.
Burnett, Cedar. “Childhood Obesity: How Did So Many Kids Get So Overweight?” ParentMap. ParentMap, 28 December 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Keating, Jeffrey.”Michael Pollan: In Defense of Food.” Youtube. 6 February 2012. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.
Mahmood, Tahir A., and ?Sabaratnsm Arulkumaran. Obesity: A Ticking Time Bomb for Reproductive Health. Waltham: Elsevier, 2012. Print.
McMillan, Tracie. The American Way of Eating. New-York: Scribner, 2012. Print.
More, Judy. Infant, Child and Adolescent Nutrition: A Practical Handbook. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group, 2013. Print.