Childhood Obesity


| 6 Comments
Obesity is a major problem in today's society, especially right here in the United States. We're ranked number two on the list of fattest countries in the world, coming in right behind Mexico. One out of every three children/teenagers in America are considered to be overweight or obese. Tripling in number within the last 30 years. 

I personally believe that early onset obesity is caused not only by nature, but nurture. Children are a product of their environment and home life. It is up to family members and their everyday teachers to provide them with a healthy lifestyle. So elders, make a proper example of yourself. Make it a point to provide them with well-rounded meals and tons of physical activity. Which shouldn't be hard considering kids love to get down-and-dirty until the street lights come on, or at least they did when my mom was a child. 

Children now-a-days are too hooked onto technology (i.e. video games, ipads, cellphones) which is enabling them to sit inside on the couch all day. Instead they should be out with their friends getting physical. This doesn't mean that need to working out, just simply playing. For example, a fun game of tag, taking a walk to "explore", riding bikes and having races. Being a kid is the only time of your life that it is acceptable to run around with your friends all day, enjoy it. While you're enjoying it, you're also benefiting yourself by burning hundreds of calories per minute.  

Poor diet is another contributor to childhood obesity. Not only what you're eating, but the portion size as well. In today's fast food world kids have the opportunity to super-size their meals. Burgers with double the patties and toppings, an overload of salty french fries and a drink taller than my forearm. Highly unnecessary and extremely dangerous. A healthy alternative for children would be the obvious: fruits, veggies, milk, water. Proteins are also a really essential part of a proper diet. So instead of deep friend nuggets, indulge in a lovely piece of grilled chicken or fish. Whole grain products are also a great alternative for certain food groups. Don't take in an enormous amount of calories if you do not plan on burning them off later. 

If parents or family members do not change the habits that have been presented to the children of this generation they are going to be suffering from severe health complications. Excessive weight gain at a young age will most likely lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, elevated cholesterol levels, hypertension, respiratory ailments, sleep apnea, and cardiovascular disease. Overweight children also fall victim to bullying which then leads to low self-esteem as well as depression. Complications and issues like the ones listed will often be the leading causes of death to this growing generation. 

The primary lesson that I want to be taken away from this blog is the importance of a healthy diet and tons, tons, tons of physical activity. But it's first up to their elders to lead them in the proper direction. 

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6 Comments

Kaitlin,
First off, I am so excited to see someone who spells their name the same as me! We're a rare type haha. I think you did a great job with this post. I especially enjoy the paragraph where you explain how you feel about obesity relating to the nature/nurture issue. I completely agree with you and I think obesity is directly correlated with how children are raised in their home environment. The mix of diet and exercise at home is crucial to children health. I read an extremely telling article in the New York Times relating exercise to grades. Here is that article if you care to read it! http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/09/15/phys-ed-can-exercise-make-kids-smarter/?_r=0

Kaitlin,
I think you did an excellent job with this article. Did you know that the American Medical Association ruled obesity to be a disease over the summer? I gave a speech on the topic and A) would like to hear your thoughts and B) have many sources on the topic, including the role genomics plays in obesity, if you would be at all interested.

Kaitlin,
One in three children/teenagers are obese is a startling fact! I believe that the problem starts from home. Parents should be the ones to encourage their children to be involved in sports and clubs in/out of school, teach healthy habits and prepare homemade meals. This is just the necessities of being parents! Here is a website that gives suggestions and solutions to help families prevent obesity. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/solutions.html

Hey Dane, I also did a speech on this in my English class last Fall. I find the website http://www.letsmove.gov/ to be a great source! It's based around Michelle Obama's plan to reduce/end the growing rate of childhood obesity. It offers great suggestions for both children and their parents, with topics ranging from food and nutrition, being active and also advice and tips on how to help others struggling with weight issues. It's very informative!

Kaitlin,
I loved your blog post. Obesity is on the rise and it is a very sad truth among youth in America. I happen to agree with the cause being nurture more so than nature. Parents are in control of what they feed their children from a young age, and at that age, instill good habits in their children. With the modern technology these days, kids are spending less time active and outdoors which contributes to the obesity risk even more. Fast food options are just a disgusting way to get food on the go. Packing a healthy lunch before leaving the house, and always being prepared are the best ways to stay on track of a healthy diet. Its repulsing that "Super Sized" meals are even approved. Preservatives in food often lead to an unhealthy body as well. http://freshtopia.net/the-disadvantages-of-food-with-preservatives/ Not only is eating too much bad, but eating too much food made with preservatives can lead to weight gain. Its best to go organic in most cases.

Some backing for the necessity of a good diet that I discovered today, yet still slightly different. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine experimented with injecting mice with the bacteria from the guts of obese people and the guts of healthy ones. Basically, what they found is the types of bacteria certainly do play a role in weight gain and its prevention, but a healthy diet helps establish the appropriate "lean bacteria communities". Thus, with further research this may turn into the development of probiotics that can (with even semi-proper diets) lead to the development of a more-efficient, weight-preventing gut. It's a pretty short but pretty cool article if you're interested.

http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/37367/title/Obesity-via-Microbe-Transplants/

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