Everyone knows one of the most pressing issues in America is the increasing obesity rate. Obesity is now considered a disease, and it’s widely affecting American children. It’s common knowledge that America’s obesity/overweight problem has become viral the past few years. In the year 2000 no state had obesity prevalence over 30 %, but by 2010, twelve states had an obesity rate over 30%. That is a drastic overall weight gain for the population in only a decade. Childhood obesity is increasing at an alarming rate also; over 12 million children (ages 2-19) in the United States are considered overweight, that’s 17%. Being overweight at young age can lead to many health problems, physical and mental ones. Obesity can cause type 2 diabetes, heart attack, stroke, high blood pressure and even fatty liver disease. Overweight children also are at higher risk for psychological and social issues, such as low self-esteem and judgment. To prevent childhood obesity parents must set a good example to help develop a healthy lifestyle at a young age, this means teaching your child healthy habits so they will continue them into adulthood. This also means recognizing the things in society that are contributing to the growing weight problem, so here are five reasons why your American child is fat.
1- Overexposure to Technology
It seems as we advance into the technology age we take many steps backwards regarding our physical wellbeing. It’s no one to blame really, adults are busy and it’s easy for parents to sometimes unknowingly turn to technology to entertain their children. This over exposure to media, technological stimulation can have negative effects, children are becoming more apt to stay inside watching TV, or online rather than going outside to play. All the hours spent in front of a screen are replacing the outdoor activities that people need to be healthy. Exercise is key and people don’t do it enough, according to Tom Robinson of Stanford University reducing television viewing can assist in preventing child obesity. He states that television results in less physical activity, reduced resting metabolism, and a higher calorie intake due to excessive advertising.
2- Over-Consuming Growth Hormones
Milk has been marketed to American parents as a healthy staple in an everyday diet. Milk is considered a healthy drink that helps kids grow, this is a true but when portion controls are disregarded the over consumption of milk can increase the risk of your child becoming overweight. This is because food seems to be so readily available in America that people start to disregard portion control. Milk and dairy products usually have the most growth hormones, and the consumption of dairy with animal fat is telling little bodies to do one thing, and that’s grow. Robert Cohen author of A-Z Milk believes that the slow change in children’s diet started in 1965, since that time American people’s diets are containing more fatty dairy products (mac and cheese, pizza, Ice cream, yogurt) and that means more growth hormones. One way to help your child lose weight is to give them much less dairy.
3- Absence of Outdoor Activity
Over the last few decades children are increasingly getting less exercise. According to long term studies done by the National institute of health, researchers discovered that children ages 9-11 reached 90% of recommended amount of physical activity per day, but by the age of 15 the percentage of children meeting the recommended amount of physical activity had dropped to 30%. So why is it that preteens are continuously lacking in exercise? I would like to refer back to reason #1; technology. We have Advances in technology are increasing rapidly and although that is beneficial to science, it is not so beneficial for our children. Children are entertained by televisions, video games, and cellphones, making it easy for them to not want to go outside and play. The solution is to make sure your child gets at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, enroll them in sports, or have them join a club that gets them moving or take them to the gym with you for some bonding time. It’s easy to show kids that actually doing something is way more fun the virtual world that they have been subjected to.
4- Lack of Knowledge Concerning a Healthy Diet
It’s a parent’s job to set a good example for their children throughout their life. Feeding them packaged junk food from the store, or giving them TV dinners is doing exactly the opposite. If your teach your child at a young age how to eat right, then that will reflect their diet as an adult and help assure a healthy diet for life. Obesity is mainly caused by lack of exercise and a bad diet, so make sure to show your kids a fruit and veggie heavy diet and steer away for high meat and dairy ones.