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Ending Childhood Obesity: The Reward of Living Life to the Fullest

As it has been stated in the previous post, this is beyond the time when it was an individual problem. It is now a social problem involving the entire nation. As a nation we have the responsibility to create environments and communities in which all of the people are able to make healthy choices (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 5). They have the autonomy to make healthy living decisions because the needed foods are readily available at reasonable prices and access to physical activity is easy to obtain (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 5). That each child has the right to a snack of fresh fruits and vegetables and the ability to walk to a nearby park with someone to run and play after school without the risks of violence associated with unsafe neighborhood. These things are stopping children from experiencing their full potential in childhood and putting them at risk for serious health issues and lack of success.

The nation needs to have a reward ahead of them to get pass this issue (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 6). The individual should know that the reward is living life to the fullest, without any lack of productivity, without disability, and without disease (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 6). Making these changes is not easy but if the parents, schools, and child care put in the needed effort to teach and guide the children on a path that is going to help them succeed it is not going to be as hard. The overweight or obese children would not feel targeted because it is a process many children will go through. It is better for everyone to learn these norms with the lasting effects of weight control which is knowledge they can use throughout their lives.

The worst is when children are being hurt by the negativity of being overweight or obese. Children do not need to be shamed or stigmatized since that is only going to make matters worse. There cannot be acceptance that the child is overweight or obese without helping he or she make changes. Children affected needs to be talked to in a positive way about lifestyle changes rather than focus on losing weight (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 5). Getting daily physical activity in the many different ways and by cutting down on a few high calorie snack foods is going to make a difference (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 5). Making these lifestyle changes is going to make the child feel better about themselves since they are becoming healthier (Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 5). Children do not want to be looked at in a negative way and by helping them find the ways of changing with social support, parent responsibility, and schools helping them it is going to make them not feel like they are to blame for the problem. They need to stay positive and learn how to make these changes at an earlier age because then they will know throughout their lives what they should and should not be doing.

Work Cited

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March 2010. Hearing.

Web. 1 November 2013.

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Effects of a Child Growing Up Obese or Overweight

The past post explored the role of government in making changes to the society. This post is going to be exploring the result of a child growing up overweight or obese. Children growing up overweight or obese are faced with many challenges. They have physical disabilities which can lead to psychological disabilities as well.

A Yale University study found the stigmatization of an obese child can start as young as three years old (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 1). Children do not have a problem with pointing out their peers that are overweight, and often it is not done in a discrete way and is done in front of other overweight people (Warren and Smalley 99). This is a form of bullying, teasing, and rejection (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 1). The children who are picking on the overweight children view them as being less disciplined, less popular, and more self-indulgent (Warren and Smalley 99). Being characterized like this at a young age can take a toll on their psychological well being since they are at an age when they are vulnerable to the influence of their peers (Warren and Smalley 99).

Studies have shown that overweight children have a hard time establishing and maintaining friendships since they have previously been socially marginalized by their peers (Warren and Smalley 106). They have less of a support system and deem to be less liked than their classmates who are normal weight (Warren and Smalley 106). If they do have friends they feel less cared about (Warren and Smalley 106). This is the sad reality of many children as they are growing up with these insecurities about their weight. Weight and friendship have not traditionally been associated but in today’s society they are. These children are the ones who need the most social support to help them lose weight. This verbal abuse happens inside the household as well (Warren and Smalley 103). “Almost half of obese girls and one-third of obese boys report being teased about their weight by their own families” (Warren and Smalley 103).

These children have few to turn to since some of the people they are surrounded by are verbally bullying and teasing them. They can be cyber bullied by peers who put pictures up of them or make public comments (Warren and Smalley 104). “Overweight children have been shown to have higher rates of depression, general feelings of worthlessness and inferiority, higher rates of suicide as well” (Warren and Smalley 101). The parents need to understand the psychological issues their child is encountering to know the warning signs (Warren and Smalley 101). The parents need to be the support system since they have few friends or siblings they can turn to for help and guide them to a healthy weight.

If these issues are not addressed while they are growing up they will continue to be issues as they become adults. Many have a difficult time learning in school because of developmental problems so they end up dropping out and are putting themselves at risk of not being able to find a job that is going to support them (Warren and Smalley 148). There are economic issues that are involved. The troubles with building relationships continue in the workforce (Warren and Smalley 133). This may limit their ability to be successful and may be a struggle throughout their life. The next post is going to be concluding on what has been learned and done on the childhood obesity epidemic happening in the United States.

Work Cited

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March

2010. Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

Government Actions to Curb Epidemic

            To continue exploring the different sectors of society that have impacts in curbing the epidemic, the last sector in society is the government. They are realizing what the long term affects of this disease means on the American people and have been implementing numerous initiatives to change the magnitude of this epidemic.

            When the government first began to see the large number of children this epidemic was affecting, they began to take action. The first step was in 2005 when the Institute of Medicine published “Preventing Childhood Obesity: Health in the Balance” (Parker et al., 18). This report was a congressional request for a national action plan addressing the childhood obesity epidemic (Parker et al., 18). It was stated that “protecting the children from harm and creating social and environmental conditions that support healthy growth and development are fundamental responsibilities of all societies” (Parker et al., 18). The report stated that the government has as a responsibility to take action, so that all children can grow up with a healthy lifestyle and will not need to worry of the long term consequences of their childhood weight.

            In 2009, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published a few Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports related to childhood obesity. One was called “Recommended Community Strategies and Measurement to Prevent Obesity in the United States (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). This report was geared towards local governments on how to best proceed with prevention methods (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). The government wants to reinvest in the community members so they can lead healthy lifestyles and spur the economy (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6).

            The government has created laws, reports, and incentives for all individuals, but especially targeted towards children, in many different sectors regarding controlling the obesity problem. One newly installed initiative is in relationship with food benefits. Many recipients of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) are families with children. Many have been living in places where they have no accessibility to grocery stores that have fresh produce. The food that is mainly given to children is cheap and unhealthy. To try to combat these limitations the government created two different programs. One is the Fresh Food Financing Initiative which is building grocery stores that have fresh produce in the neighborhoods that currently do not have any (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 33). In addition to having these new stores they are also beginning to have more flea and farmers markets in these areas and the SNAP recipients are able to use their cards to purchase fresh and local produce for their families (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 33). These changes were needed since the government became aware that the food system on a local and regional level as well as the infrastructure needed to be rebuild and the consolidation of the different stages of the food system needs to be altered (Parker et al., 15). This is not just good for the health of the people but it is beneficial to the economy as a whole (Parker et al., 15). These are going to help solve one of the issues in the neighborhood, but the one that needs to be solved is the eating habits of children.

            Similar action plans are happening in other sectors of society. The government acknowledges there are environmental, social, and economic factors that are creating the increase in childhood obesity. So they believe if they come up with plans to disintegrate those issues then there can be less of an epidemic and a healthier society.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Bridging the Evidence Gap in

Obesity Prevention: A Framework to Inform Decision Making. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press. 2010. Print.

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March

2010. Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

United States House of Representatives. “Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity.” U.S.

Subcommittee on Energy and Commerce. Rayburn House Office Building, Washington, D.C. 16 December 2009.

Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Creating a Healthy School/ Child Care Environment

As stated in the previous post, what children observe and learn at child care and school are going to affect their future. Or more importantly, any lack is going to result in lacks in their lifestyle habits. These institutions need to implement in their curriculum physical education and health education by trained professionals who can create the age appropriate curriculums for physical and health education (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

            One of the first changes that need to occur is re-implementing physical education in schools for all grades, and requiring physical activity from children in child care (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  The curriculum will include specific amounts of time that each age group is required to have physical activity. This minimum required time does not only need to happen in structured physical education classes (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). By allowing them time to have unstructured time to play they will be more likely to find physical activity that they enjoy and will want to do (Warren and Smalley 9). Another goal is to get them away from sitting in class all day, possibly using technology, and getting them to move around and engage with other children in ways other than classroom learning (Parker et al., 23).

There should be health education every year with an emphasis on nutrition (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).  An important way for children to learn about a particular topic is by doing hands on experiences. If schools create a garden, and children utilize it by gardening themselves it will teach them how rewarding eating what they have grown is (Parker et al., 18). Or the school could participate in the Farm to School program, where farms and schools create agreements and the farm provides food for the local school (Parker et al., 15). When students are able to see the farm process and have a garden at a young age it becomes a norm for them to have healthy fresh produce (Parker et al., 15).

School cafeterias need to change and cafeteria cooks need to be trained in cooking healthy (Parker et al., 9). When they are trained to cook for children in a healthy way then they will be able to decide what food to get, and cook options that are healthy for students (Parker et al., 9-10). If the cafeteria provides appealing healthy options to students which include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein with limited access to high calorie snacks the students would be more inclined to eat that for lunch (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9).

Just like in the household the teachers and school staff should be modeling healthy behaviors for the children. By setting up wellness policies for the staff they will be role models for the children (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The school need to work with parents as well, educating them on the importance of the health curriculum being taught in the school (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). Schools need to provide parents with resources that reinforces what is taught in school so they can promote positive health messages at home (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). The next post is exploring another institution that is incorporated into the epidemic in a different way than the household and educational institutions and that is the health care facilities.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March 2010.

Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

Schools and Child Care: Where Children Should Learn Future Skills for a Healthy Lifestyle

The past post was discussing that parents are the support for their children to change their lifestyle if needed. Another important place that is affecting childhood obesity rate is child care and school. It is “estimated that over 12 million children aged zero to six years receive some form of child care on a regular basis from someone other than their parents (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 9). This statistic shows that a vast majority of children are learning eating and physical activity habits from locations outside their homes. This proves that there are other people besides the parents responsible for the child’s actions and should be teaching them healthy habits. This is another arena where children are learning from those around them.

Many schools feel pressure from state mandates. Students must meet state standards on tests so schools are rearranging children’s class schedules to increase class time (Warren and Smalley 61). For some schools, the first class eliminated is physical education because school officials believe that this class does not accomplish the goals that they have set for their students (Warren and Smalley 61). “Less than half of school children are enrolled in physical education courses, and less than one-third receive daily physical activity as a part of their educational curriculum” (Warren and Smalley 60). Since the child is at school or child care during most of the day they are not learning to include physical activity in their daily routine (Warren and Smalley 61). They are seeing that physical activity during school only happen on special occasions (Warren and Smalley 61). The important habit of exercising needs to be built into children’s schedule at a young age.  School is suppose to be teaching children skills for the future, and there has been research that states that children getting exercise and not gaining weight will stay in school longer and thus will have a better future (Drew).

The other habit that is not being taught in schools and child care is encouraging positive nutrition and eating habits. “Children consume more than half of their daily calories during school hours, so improving nutritional value of the foods and beverages served in schools can have effect on health” (Parker et al., 9). This should normally not happen because most schools are monitored by the federal government, right? But, the federal government only overlooks what schools are providing through the cafeterias (Warren and Smalley 47). This eliminates the regulations from what is sold in another food stores within the school and vending machines (Warren and Smalley 47). These locations have the ability to sell anything, including high calorie foods and drinks (Warren and Smalley 47). As a result, students use their lunch money at these other locations rather than use it for the more nutritious food sold in the cafeteria (Warren and Smalley 47). Such as at home, this is another opportunity to eat unhealthy foods rather than the more healthy options (Warren and Smalley 47). The money from these locations outside the cafeteria usually helps support the school, meanwhile the school is not doing a very good job in supporting healthy eating habits for their students and giving them this valuable skill for the future (Warren and Smalley 47). The next post is going to be showing examples of changes that these institutions can make to have a bigger focus on changing the epidemic.

Work Cited

Drew, Kristen. “School Officials Launching New Program to Fight Childhood Obesity.”

Komonews. Komo New 4, 26 October 2013. Web. 1 November 2013.

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

United States Senate. “Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic.”

U.S. Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions. Dirksen Senate Office Building, Washington, D.C. 4 March

2010. Hearing. Web. 1 November 2013.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

Parents are the Child’s Support System

The last post discussed parents’ habits that may not have been best for their children’s healthy lifestyle. This post is going to explore options parents can make to help their children. One of the first issues is the reestablishment of the presence and role of parents in the meal process (Warren and Smalley 36). Families are rarely having dinner together during the week, and this causes a lack of parents’ help in shaping their children’s meals since the children are missing the educational factor about cooking and meal composition by their parents (Warren and Smalley 36).

The parents need to become involved in teaching important lifestyle messages to their children since if parents are involved in the process it is more effective. It can be a family effort rather than directed solely at children. This will make it more social by bringing the family together and not making the child feel they are the outcast of the family. The healthy lifestyle that the child is taught and accustomed to is the one that they are going to view as normal and continue as they get older and remove themselves from the control of their parents.

Many people lack knowledge about obesity (Parker et al., 49). Also, many parents are oblivious to the reality of their children’s appearance (Parker et al., 49). Parents are in an act of denial and are not coming to terms with what the medical professionals are telling them about their children’s weight (Parker et al., 49). The parents do not feel a threat when they find out that their child is in the highest percentile, since there are many other children who are overweight, so it is not a problem that their child is (Parker et al., 49). These attitudes need to be changed. Being overweight is not just a phase that all children go through, and it is hard to reverse weight issues once they occur. It is better to take the medical professional advice and change the lifestyle and actions of the child when it can be easier to monitor them. Parents are not realizing that their child has a weight issue which needs to be handled because it is adversely affecting their child in many ways.

Once parents accept their child’s weight issue child has, they need to educate the child. Parents do not like talking about weight with their children because they do not think it is an important topic and would rather talk about safe sex, drugs, smoking, and alcohol (Warren and Smalley 49). Parents believe this discussion is not their job and is best when the medical professionals do so (Warren and Smalley 49). This is a negative way of thinking about the child becoming aware of the issue and its effects on them. Even when they are told by the medical professional it might not last once they leave the doctors if their parents do not reinforce the message and show support. They need to help them resolve this issue by making changes within the family and taking responsibility for the actions of their children and helping monitor their behaviors. Ideally this would include telling them to go outside and exercise while they are making a healthy, balanced meal. There needs to be openness between parents and children and for all to understand the long term importance of lifestyle changes. Parents cannot shy away from the topic and need to be educated in knowing what is best to say and the actions that are best. The next post is going to explore the role of child care and schools.

Work Cited

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.

Children Need to Exercise

The previous post discussed the changes in eating habits needed by children, this post is going to be exploring the exercising habits children maintain. There is no such thing as bad exercising. Exercise habits needs to be changed, thus teaching children the importance of getting their daily amount of exercising.

            Most children need sixty minutes of exercise daily (“How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?”). This should be aerobic exercise that is increasing their heart rate and strengthening muscles and bones for lasting effects (“How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need?”). Forming exercise as a regular habit at a young age can help improve fitness and control weight (Parker et al., 10). This should be part of their daily routine, and should continue to be as they grow up.

For all children exercise needs to become a norm. There are many different activities, so a child needs to find one that they will enjoy. The hardship is when a child realizes that they are overweight or obese and feel self conscious to exercise because they will look funny (Parker et al., 3). This is extremely wrong since these are the children who need to exercise the most. In some places this issue was eliminated because they established overweight sport leagues. The children are now not excluded from activity but are able to participate in a way that will be healthy and not make them feel out of place (Parker et al., 3). These children are going to get better by burning the calories that they are consuming.

As mentioned in an earlier post, children are growing up in a time when technology is adding convenience to everyone’s life. It does have negative effects, but the reality is that technology is not going away and only going to expand in the years to come (Warren and Smalley 57). This means society needs to adapt the technology and help incorporate it into children getting physical activity (Warren and Smalley 57). That is exactly what Nintendo did by setting up the Wii system. The players use their bodies with the controllers so they engage in movements (Warren and Smalley 57).

Another example of using technology to increase physical activity was done by a whole community. In Washington State they conducted a survey about youth healthy lifestyles and learned that there was a significant decrease in physical activity after the sixth grade (Drew). Shohomish, Washington created a coalition to work to end childhood obesity as a community, and came up with a strategy which used technology (Drew). They distributed to children PowerPod wristbands which track the amount of physical activity and gave information about how else they can improve their health (Drew). When done exercising the child can connect the PowerPod to a computer which is linked to a special system which will tell you how many points you earned by exercising (Drew). They also have the ability to see how many points their friends have (Drew). They created a competition to get children motivated to exercise by being able to challenge their friends (Drew).

This shows that there are positive ways to show children how important exercising is. Just like eating healthy they need to learn why they need to exercise. There are many innovative ways people are trying to make everyone involved get fit. Exercising is a way to curb the obesity epidemic since it helps burn calories while they are working out and afterwards so it helps put the body in balance. The next post will explore the role of parents to curb the epidemic.

Work Cited

Drew, Kristen. “School Officials Launching New Program to Fight Childhood Obesity.”

Komonews. Komo New 4, 26 October 2013. Web. 1 November 2013.

“How Much Physical Activity Do Children Need.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

USA.gov, 9 November 2011. Web. 2 November 2013.

Parker, Lynn, Emily Ann Miller, Elena Ovaitt, and Stephen Olson. Alliances for Obesity

Prevention: Finding Common Ground. Washington D.C.: The National Academics Press, 2012. Print.

Warren, Jacob C. and K. Bryant Smalley. “Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring

Effects of Childhood Obesity.” New York: Pagrave Macmillan. 2013. Print.