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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.

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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.