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.

Advertisements

Parents Responsibility for Healthy Children

My last post addressed the importance of exercising. Now I will focus on parents having a responsibility to act in a way that is healthy for their children (Parker et al., 50). As children are growing up they are watching what the people do around them and trying to replicate it (Parker et al., 50). Children see their parents the most and regard them as role models, so the actions of the parents need to be healthy and positive since they are going to be passed down (Parker et al., 50). In Contemporary Nutrition: A Functional Approach, a statistics states, “A child with no obese parents has only a ten percent chance of becoming obese. When a child has one obese parent, which is common in our society, that risk advances up to forty percent, and with two obese parents, it soars to eighty percent (Wardlaw et al., 258). This helps prove that genes can be important factor in childhood obesity. But, if this is the case, the parents are putting their children at risk. So instead of making the children have these risk factors they can become healthy as a family together (Parker et al., 1).

            The actions that parents take even before the child is born can affect whether their child becomes obese in their early years (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). This includes excessive weight gain, having type 2 diabetes or gestational diabetes, and tobacco use during pregnancy which can have negative effects on the child while developing in the mother (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity 6).

            There has been research into the benefits of breastfeeding (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 6). This is one of the first personal choices that a mother makes when having a child. Research shows this is an important service for the baby (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity). It leads to many future benefits from the nutrients that can only be found in breast milk. This seems to put parents in a tough position because of having to make a choice about doing what is best for the child and the affects it will have on the mother. As the child grows up there is constantly going to be points where there needs to be decision making.

There are many times as the child is growing up where parents are making decisions for them that become subconscious. These subconscious decisions are putting their children at health risks because they are not conscious of the consequences on health. Some has to do with schedules that they are involved in; they can be working and are too busy to think about their children exercising and eating healthy and what the impact of these decisions on their children can be. Many parents nowadays are not teaching their children how to play because they are too busy to go outside and play (Parker et al., 28). When parents are busy at home instead of supervising them at play outside they just hand them a piece of technology to keep them occupied (Warren and Smalley 55). This is a bad habit because it limits the child from doing physical activities (Warren and Smalley 55). The next post will be showing examples of changes parents can make to help their children.

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 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.

Wardlaw, Gordon M., Anne M. Smith, and Alice K. Lindeman. “Contemporary Nutrition: A

Functional Approach.” New York: McGraw Hill. 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.

Nutritional Eating Habits for Children

The previous post showed the relationship children are learning to have with food in the United States. Children are learning about overconsumption and big portion sizes as the norm. But, altering behaviors can have an affects on the obesity epidemic. In the United States there is a wide variety of food to choose from, so children need to learn to make the right choices for proper nutritional benefits (Wardlaw et al., 17).

            Children should be ingesting foods that come from the six main food groups each day. The major food groups are grains, vegetables, fruits, milk, meat and beans, and oils (Wardlaw et al., 37). When choosing foods it is best if they have phytochemicals, which are “substances that have significant health benefits” (Wardlaw et al., 37). Examples of foods that have phytochemicals are fruits, vegetables, and whole grains (Wardlaw et al., 37). Children’s diets need to have the addition of fruits and vegetables which are filled with vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These come naturally and are good for the health of the child now and in the future (“Fruits and Vegetables”). Depending on the age of a child the serving sizes differ between the food group daily intake (“Fruits and Vegetables”) Children need to learn how much should be eaten. And learn to eat until they are full and not any more. One way to avoid overconsumption is to plan out their meals (Wardlaw et al., 38). By knowing exactly what they are going to eat for the day, it will limit their freedom of being able to choose what they want to eat. So, instead of eating processed, high fat foods that are not nutrient dense, they will be able to have a plate of fruits or vegetables that will be low in fat and calories and fill them up just the same as other foods (“Fruits and Vegetables”).

Children need to make healthy decisions when eating. They should have a healthy eating plan which has variety, balance, and in moderation (Wardlaw et al., 39). Children are going to get bored if they are told they must eat the same thing over again, so by finding a variety of healthy foods it will make eating more enjoyable to eat. When eating, one should find a balance of food from the different food groups. Each of the food groups help to supply nutrients to the body and are important to maintain a balance in the body. A very important idea that a child needs to learn is eating in moderation. Eliminating unhealthy food is not realistic, but choosing some healthy options is possible. If they are going to choose something not healthy they should only have a little because of the lack of nutritional benefits. Eating habits are a personal choice made by the child and they need to make it a norm to want to eat healthy. Having good eating habits will give them a more pleasurable life than if they are eating unhealthy foods. They next post will explore exercising habits within children’s lifestyle.

Work Cited

“Fruits and Vegetables.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. USA.gov, 12 September

2013. Web. 2 November 2013.

Wardlaw, Gordon M., Anne M. Smith, and Alice K. Lindeman. “Contemporary Nutrition: A

Functional Approach.” New York: McGraw Hill. 2012. Print.

Children’s Relationship with Food

My last post discussed how children are living a more sedentary lifestyle. This post will explore how children are learning to interact with food. Around the Thanksgiving table there are platters of food. The child gets a big plate and layers it with food because they want to try everything. While eating the child may become full but continues eating. When the child finishes they were full and bloated. Later, even though the child was still full, they have dessert. Dessert was the best because there were numerous pies and other baked goods, so the child got another full plate. The child eats the whole plate of dessert too.

            A mother picks up her child from school. When the child got into the car, they said they got an “A” on last week’s math test, making the mother proud. While shopping the mother went to the bakery and told her child to pick one treat because of the great test score. The child chose a big vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting, sprinkles, and a sugar dog on top.

            These scenarios depict how food has become a commodity (Warren and Smalley 40). In all cultures, food is important because everyone needs to get energy to survive. Nowadays food is often used as a reward and for celebrations (Warren and Smalley 32). There have been associations made between food, pleasure and approval that have become a norm (Warren and Smalley 32). Norms are usually hard to change. Celebrating with food is building strong emotions with food that are often not even recognized after a certain point (Warren and Smalley 32). Children are growing up in a culture where they are not learning the true importance of eating to nurture the body, but instead learn that it can help with ones emotions and can easily be bought (Warren and Smalley 38). This growing relationship with food is leading children to overconsumption and the prevalence of obesity (Warren and Smalley 32).

            One way that is easily triggering children to over consume is proportion sizes, which have increased drastically over the years. If people were able to control and eat less even though there are bigger portions than it would be fine (Warren and Smalley 33). Studies have found that when children are presented with more food they are going to indulge and eat it regardless of whether they are full (Warren and Smalley 33). Ultimately the increase of portions results in an increase in calories ingested. This imbalance in the body leads to further weight gain (Warren and Smalley 33).

            Another problem is the food that is being made and sold today. There is an increase demand for pre-packaged and prepared food and a lack of knowledge of what is actually in these foods (Warren and Smalley 35). Many of these meals have chemical preservatives to extend shelf life. These chemicals can have negative effects in the body that will make someone become addicted to the food. If someone does not know what a food is made from they should not be eating it and a child should definitely not be eating it.

These habits are causing the obesity epidemic. A problem is consuming food without realizing what it contains and not thinking about the effects of eating it. Portion sizes are designed for overconsumption and contributing to increasing consumption and has a detrimental effects on the body. These habits and food norms need to be changed because it is harming our youngest citizens. My next post will explore how to teach children proper eating habits.

Work Cited

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.

Sedetary Lifestyle

The previous post was discussing the complexity of the obesity issue. Today, the children are growing up in a digital technology world. They are surrounded by technology, allowing them to do less physical exercise than generations before. It is also about convenience, which adds to the use of technology and the avoidance of doing basic movements because there are gadgets that do it for us. The technology gadgets that are most used by children are televisions, cell phones, handheld video games, and computers.

            These technological innovations are becoming part of the home, school, and workforce for United States society (Parker, Miller, Ovaitt, Olson 18). There is an inverse relationship between using technology and the need for physical effort. Since there is an increase in technology there is a decrease in the need for physical activity, leading to sedentary behaviors (Parker et al., 18).

            “The NIH reported that almost half of the children aged 8-16 years old watch three to five hours of television a day” (“Innovations in Addressing Childhood Obesity” 14). This growing incidence of sedentary behaviors, such as inside watching TV, playing video games on the TV or computer, or texting or calling people on the phone, are leading to childhood obesity and taking away time when children can be outside playing. This increase in sedentary behaviors without a decrease in caloric intake is leading to the rise in obesity rates (Warren and Smalley 54). When a child is not exercising and continues to have the same caloric intake or even a higher one that is going to lead to weight gain. The body is cohesive and these two activities work together for adjustments on weight (Warren and Smalley 54). If this is continuously happening it is going to lead to extreme weight gain and can start the onset of chronic diseases in children (Warren and Smalley 54). Today about “three-quarters of all children do not get the recommended amount of daily exercise” (Warren and Smalley 54).

            Another major problem is when children watch TV they are being marketed items that might not be beneficial to them (Parker, Miller, Oviatt, Olson 16). These items include high processed, high energy, high caloric food that are especially not helpful in their diet given their low activity level. The children become interested in the food items because the marketers use a catchy jingle and cartoon characters or anything else they believe will get the child into wanting the item (Warren and Smalley 40). Once they see the commercial and are enticed they beg their parents to buy these unneeded products (Warren and Smalley 40). There needs to be a decrease in screen times for children so they are more likely to exercise, and move around instead of just sit around. My next post is going to be exploring the reality of the eating habits children are learning through childhood.

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 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.

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.

Obesity: A Multidimensional Disease

Obesity is a multidimensional disease based on many factors that are combined to make someone prone to become obese. It is the combinations of genetics, nature which cannot be changed, and environment, nurture since these are built and can be changed (Wardlaw, Smith, Lindeman 258). There has been much research done and still they cannot find a particular gene that specifically identify if a person is more susceptible to this disease (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic”). There are genes for processes that occur in the body that can effect on if a child is more prone to gaining weight and becoming obese (Wardlaw et al., 258). These genes determine the metabolic rate (the burning of calories from food items), fuel use (the ability to break down glucose for energy use), and differences in brain chemistry (the chemicals that tell the brain what should be done) (Wardlaw et al., 258).

In the environment there are disparities that make some children more likely to become obese (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Some disparities are sex, socioeconomic status, and geographical location (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Women are more likely than men to be obese because women usually have more fat in their composition than men (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 27). Having a lower socioeconomic status does not allow children to have as many resources as someone with a higher socioeconomic status (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 28). The lack of resources, such as money to buy fresh nutritious food, means that they will need to buy cheap food. Cheap food is tends to be processed, high calorie foods. Another disparity is geographical location, since in some areas there are no grocery stores nearby, limiting the healthy food options since few can be bought in the area (“Childhood Obesity: Beginning the Dialogue on Reversing the Epidemic” 28). The neighborhood might not be safe so it is difficult for the child to go out and play since it can be dangerous. It is the sad truth that these disparities are so embedded in the society that they can have such an effect on the children. It is not allowing all children living in the United States to an equal lifestyle. This issue needs to have all sectors involved, especially policy changes, so that we can change how society is built. Only then will children not have as many of these issues and remain unknown to the fact that their surroundings are making them sick and they are unable to really make any changes alone.

After the disparities are alleviated it is then personal choices as to what actions they are going to take for their own well being. These personal lifestyle choices occur daily. Are they going to sit and watch TV or are they going to put on music and dance? Or deciding on what they are going to eat. Is it going to be a prepared TV dinner or is it going to be whole grain pasta with vegetables? It is all about the habits that they have learned to live by. And in many cases that is what needs to be changed. The next post is going to explore the technology world we live in today and the affects that it is making on children.

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.

Wardlaw, Gordon M., Anne M. Smith, and Alice K. Lindeman. “Contemporary Nutrition: A

Functional Approach.” New York: McGraw Hill. 2012. Print.