Obesity is described as excessive body fat as measured by the Body Mass Index [BMI]. Obesity is a significant health concern to children, whether they come from wealthy or low-income families (“Pearson Education,” 2017). Their extra weight harms their self-esteem, and they can become depressed, impacting their functionality and academic performance. Obesity also puts children at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, asthma, heart disease, and sleep disorders, affecting them even as adults.
Obesity in children is caused by various factors, including diet, psychological factors, and family background. Overeating, especially a poor diet high in sugars or fats and low in nutrients, and not exercising or exercising too little, are the leading causes of obesity. Include lifestyle, psychological factors and family history among others. Overeating especially a poor diet containing high levels of sugars or fats and less nutrients and not exercising or exercising too little is the main cause of childhood obesity (“Pearson Education,” 2017). In the modern society, institutions like the media, entertainment industries, schools and beverage companies have played an active role in escalating the health problem. They have been popularizing a culture where eating is not carefully looked into to avoid the intake of cholesterol (Kurzman et al, 99-100). Besides, obesity can be a hereditary condition, which if not controlled in the early childhood years can continue into adulthood.
Due to the busy schedule of the modern parents, they prefer using convenience foods, which includes canned pasta, frozen dinners, and salty snacks. These foods highly, contribute to unusual weight gain that can eventually result into obesity (Roblin, 635-637). Some parents do not know how to prepare or cook healthy food for their children while others are not able to afford vegetables, fresh fruits, and meat. Children love candy and soft drinks and being used to these kinds of fast food, they are likely to be overweight with time. Fast foods and beverages have a lot of energy, consumed into the body, which is more than enough for healthy functioning, physical activities, and growth. The extra energy is associated with the weight gain.
The learning theory helps to explain why the effects of eating behavior tend to be stronger that the long-term negative effects. The theory also help to explain why children like eating sweets despite being aware of the negative consequences in the long-term (Golan & Abraham, 102-105). Parents have a responsibility of ensuring that their children are living a healthy lifestyle, an effort that can be achieved through various ways. For children with obesity, change of eating habits is very essential. They will always eat what their parents buy hence it is important to buy healthy and nutritious foods. Any other category of food should be limited in homes and replaced with others such as lower fat milk. Meals prepared and eaten together is not only nutritional healthy but an excellent way to have some family time. Snacks and meals should be more of fresh foods and not baked goods, salty snacks or other processed products. A healthy way of eating will help obese children to shed off some weight.
Physical activities of the children should also be regular to help them in shedding the extra weight safely. Playing games like hopscotch or playing with other children an hour a day will help them remain healthy. Family activities like swimming, hiking, playing tags among others help children to be active, which is a part of healthy living (Torgan, 23-26). The modern generation of children spends too much time watching television, using smartphones or other devices and playing computer games hence becoming overweight as most of their energy is not put to use. Parents can control this addiction through coming up with an activity schedule that minimizes the time spent on television.
Golan, Moria, and Abraham Weizman. “Familial approach to the treatment of childhood obesity: conceptual model.” Journal of nutrition education 33.2 (2001): 102-105.
Kurzman, I. D., E. G. MacEwen, and A. L. Haffa. “Reduction in body weight and cholesterol in spontaneously obese dogs by dehydroepiandrosterone.” International journal of obesity 14.2 (1990): 95-104.
Torgan, Carol. “Childhood obesity on the rise.” Word on health: Consumer health information based on research from the National Institutes of Health (2002).
Pearson Education. (2017). Abavtooldev.pearsoncmg.com. Retrieved 29 September 2017, from http://abavtooldev.pearsoncmg.com/sbx_videoplayer_v2/simpleviewer.php?projectID= b_Psych&clipID=15_Childhood_Obesity_SD.flv&ui=2
Roblin, Lynn. “Childhood obesity: food, nutrient, and eating-habit trends and influences.” Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism 32.4 (2007): 635-637.