The most common cause seems to be the fact that most of us lead a sedentary lifestyle. Children do not burn as many calories as they take in, which leads to weight gain (“Childhood Obesity Facts”). Most of the activities children and teens participate in only add to the problem. Watching TV and playing video games are favorite pastimes that lead to increased weight gain (“Childhood Obesity”).
In addition, the way families eat can contribute to weight gain. Soda and pre-packaged foods are higher in sugar and fat (“What is Childhood Obesity?”). Unfortunately, these items are often less expensive and more convenient than cooking a full healthy meal. Finally, there may be a genetic link to childhood obesity. Genetic causes are not as common, but they do exist (“Childhood Obesity”).
Children who are overweight can experience a number of health problems, both short and long term. These children are more likely to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol (“Childhood Obesity Facts”). Overweight children can also be effected emotionally. They are more likely to have low self- esteem and poor social skills than normal weight children (“Childhood Obesity”). This, in turn, can lead to increased bullying and social withdrawal.
There are many steps that can be taken to prevent childhood obesity. In most cases, it takes a family approach. Parents should do all they can to encourage outside play and stress the fun that can be had through playing outdoors (“Childhood Obesity”). Children who are encouraged to go out with the family may actually do so. Also, parents can offer children healthy snacks or find more healthy ways of making a favorite meal (“Preventing Childhood Obesity”). Simply changing the foods you eat may go a long way toward preventing obesity. Finally, families can limit the amount of time kids spend watching TV or playing video games (“Preventing Childhood Obesity”). This limits the amount of exercise a child gets, which contributes to weight problems.
There are many programs in place to help bring awareness to the issue of childhood obesity. Many of these programs involve schools since so much a child’s day is spent there. First Lady Michelle Obama helped to start the Let’s Move campaign, which encourages physical activity and helps provide healthy food for schools (“Learn the Facts”). The White House isn’t alone in its commitment to fighting this issue. The NFL started the Play 60 campaign to encourage physical activity for 60 minutes a day (“Play 60”). They have even partnered with the National Dairy Council to expand the program to create Fuel Up to Play 60; this partnership adds in education about making healthy food choices (“Play 60”).
Homegrown programs There are several programs at work right here in South Carolina; many of them combine help for schools with education for the students about making healthy choices. The CATCH program teaches kids how to be healthy by addressing school, community, and home approaches (“Community Action”). A multi-tiered approach ensures a child’s needs are being met across the board. Another program that is addressing childhood obesity through different avenues is the Healthy Schools Program. This program is at work in over 27,000 schools, teaching kids about healthy eating and physical activity, both in school and at home (“Our Approach”). There is no doubt that many groups advocate for change, but we know that the best approach starts in the home.
Works Cited "Childhood Obesity Facts." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "Childhood Obesity." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 15 Feb. 2014. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "Community Action." Eat Smart Move More South Carolina. ESMMSC, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "Learn The Facts." Let's Move. n.p., n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "Our Approach." Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Alliance for a Healthier Generation, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "PLAY 60." NFL Rush. NFL Properties LLC, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "Preventing Childhood Obesity: Tips for Parents and Caretakers." American Heart Association. American Heart Association, Inc., 16 Oct. 2014. Web. 15 Mar. 2015. "What Is Childhood Obesity?" Obesity Action Coalition. Obesity Action Coalition, n.d. Web. 15 Mar. 2015.