An Insidious Epidemic: Childhood Obesity

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. I’m back today, and I’m talking about something that is on the rise in the United States and that is Childhood Obesity. It saddens me when I see an obese child. I know he’s going to struggle with weight issues throughout his whole life. Nearly one in every three children are obese. That’s alarming, isn’t it? Our country has reached epidemic proportions.

Ed Yourdon via VisualHunt / CC BY-NC-SA

       What does obese mean?

It means that a child is severely overweight with a Body Mass Index that is equal to or greater than the ninety-fifth percentile.

What’s causing Childhood Obesity?

 Let’s face it, one of the major causes of this epidemic is screen time. Our children are watching TV or on their computers more than ever these days. This is time they should be spending being physically active. We as parents need to limit their screen time and push them to become more active. We need to teach them to take care of their bodies.

Another cause is the fact that many people don’t live in areas close to supermarkets that sell healthy foods. They get their food from fast food restaurants or convenience stores. These foods taste great because they’re loaded with fat and calories, but they’re bad for our children. So, parents need to make that extra effort to find healthy foods. I know it’s hard, especially if you have to drive an hour to the super market. We’re busy parents, right? Who has two hours to spare driving to the super market? I suggest making it a family outing. That’s right, get the whole family involved in grocery shopping. Not only can you teach your kids about healthy foods, but you can also teach them about how to shop on a budget. These are definitely two life skills they’ll take into adulthood.

Marketing of unhealthy foods to our children is another cause of childhood obesity. This goes along with too much screen time. It’s also happening in our middle schools and high schools. Our kids are bombarded with advertising for unhealthy food choices, while advertising for healthy food choices is non-existent. This has to change if we want to have an impact on our children’s eating habits.

Photo credit: epSos.de via VisualHunt.com / CC BY

 

Did you know there’s no law requiring physical education in schools? This surprises me.  It’s recommended that children get at least one hour of physical activity a day. From a study conducted in 2009, only thirty three percent of students met this guideline.  I find this disturbing, especially when I’ve learned that being physically fit is good for your brain.  Check out this article to learn more:

http://www.edutopia.org/exercise-fitness-brain-benefits-learning

According to the above article, there is a direct correlation between being physically fit and academic achievement. The more physical tests the students passed, the higher they scored on their achievement tests.

Photo credit: DennisSylvesterHurd via Visualhunt.com / CC BY-NC-SA

In Naperville, Illinois educators created an early morning physical education class for kids who were behind in their literacy levels. The kids would exercise in the morning before class for thirty minutes, and the results were eye-opening. They improved their scores on standardized tests by a whole one and a quarter percent, while those who didn’t participate in the PE class only improved by nine-tenths of a percent.

They also tried this with an Introductory Algebra class, and the results were even more dramatic. Those students who participated in PE before Algebra increased their scores by 20.4 percent. That’s huge! While those who didn’t participate only improved by 3.9 percent.

As you can see, there is a direct correlation between exercise and academic achievement. So not only is Childhood Obesity affecting our kids’ physical health, but they’re mental health as well. So, the bottom line is that we need to get Childhood Obesity under control by increasing their physical activity.

Maybe we need to have more recess time in school? I think that’s a great place to start. What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment!

Some other articles about Childhood Obesity:

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm

https://www.healthiergeneration.org/about_childhood_obesity/get_informed/

http://www.edutopia.org/exercise-fitness-brain-benefits-learning

 

 

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About Lisa Orchard

I'm a Young Adult Author with two new series, "The Starlight Chronicles" and "The Super Spies." The first one's a coming of age series and the second one's a mystery/thriller series. I'm also the mother of two boys who keep me hopping and they're my inspiration for everything. When I'm not shuttling my boys to school or a play date, I'm writing. When I'm not writing, I'm reading, hiking, or sometimes running. I love anything chocolate and scary movies too.
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10 Responses to An Insidious Epidemic: Childhood Obesity

  1. Whoa. That’s shocking! I’ll make even more of an effort towards exercising now! 😀

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      It is shocking, Erik. I’m happy to hear you’re going to exercise more. It’s so good for your body and your brain! Loved your Scholastic post by the way, it was awesome! 🙂

  2. J.Q. Rose says:

    What great information in your article. We need more awareness for parents. We need PE classes and classes on nutrition. Why DO all the bad foods taste so good?? LOL..But veggies can be tasty too–and I don’t mean French fries! Thank you. Sharing this post on FB.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by J.Q.! I agree with you, we need more education. Maybe even commercials touting the benefits of healthy foods. Thanks for sharing my post. Stop by anytime. 🙂

  3. Cynthia Port says:

    So glad you are writing about this. This current generation is on track to be the first to actually have shorter lifespans than their parents. We are also on track for 1/3 of US adults to have diabetes. A recent study determined the leading causes of death in countries around the world – e.g. communicable diseases, famine, war, etc. Guess what it was in the US? Our food. The number one thing causing death in the America is simply the way we think it is normal to eat. It’s not normal, and we are suffering so much as result, watching out loved ones become debilitated, get cancer, die of heart disease and dementia. Exercise is important, but with all the processed foods and excess meat and dairy (which are low on nutrients and have nonexistent fiber), our bodies are not getting the minimum of what they need to self-heal and be healthy.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Oh Cynthia! You’re so right! Isn’t it scary that we’re doing it to ourselves? I love that you’re so knowledgeable on this subject, maybe we could do a twitter chat about this sometime? I think we need to open people’s eyes to this, don’t you?

  4. kiwirach says:

    I think you have some good points in your article Lisa, but in my opinion, I believe you left out the major cause of obesity, and that’s way way too much sugar. When you understand what frustose does to your body you realise its the killer out there. Did you know the World Health Organisation recommends adults only have 6 teaspoons of sugar a day- less for children. There are more than 6 teaspoons of sugar in a regular can of soda, so you can get an idea of just how much we are overdosing on sugar. if we can learn to control out blood sugar levels better we will be much healthier for it.

    • Lisa Orchard says:

      Thanks for stopping by Kiwirach. You are correct in your assessment. I didn’t discuss sugar because I’d done so in a previous post a few months ago and didn’t want to seem redundant to my followers. Sugar has the same effect on the human brain that cocaine does. Did you know that many food manufacturers add sugar to our processed foods? It sounds a lot like what the tobacco industry did to their cigarettes, adding nicotine to make them more addictive. We really need to take a look at how our foods are processed and keep the sugar out. Like you said, we’ll be healthier for it. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. I love connecting with like minded people via my blog.

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