Abstract

Obesity is accumulation of body fat and weight to a point that it can cause danger in the life of human being. According to American Medical Association (AMA), the increase in health related diseases and illnesses have been caused by the increase in obesity and overweight rates.

When the body has excess fat deposits there is a high resistance to insulin. When this happens the body lacks the energy that it requires to maintain at equilibrium. The resultant is type 2 diabetes. Heavy weight exerts a lot of pressure to joint and cartilage, this leads to Osteoarthritis. Some of these diseases include: diabetes, cancer, insomnia, heart diseases, and cardicascular disease.

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Obesity is a disease which can be prevented and cured if proper eating habits are adopted by parents to their children. Food that children take should be examined to ensure that it has nutritional benefit to the child. Fatty food should be avoided. Prevention of obesity should take centre stage than curing it. Healthy food contains adequate nutrients that one need for survival. Parents should go ahead and teach their children at tender age the need to eat healthy at all times.

Daily intake of fruits, vegetables and organic food do not only give us a perfect skin but also helps in fighting illnesses. Physical exercises have also been found to work perfectly in reducing the amount of fats accumulated in the body. This paper looks at the preference of children obesity in America; it also looks at some of the causes of obesity in children. It concludes by giving some of the ways that can be used to prevent obesity for instance eating of fruits and vegetables.

Introduction

Obesity is an increased body mass in terms of fat accumulation, which may cause danger in the health of the particular individual. In children there is definition or specification of obesity like it is clearly defined in grown ups, but some factors have been borrowed from adulthood obesity.

Obesity is a nutritional disease that results from accumulation of fats in the body, to a level that it becomes harmful to an individual. Modern lifestyle is the major cause of obesity. In adults and adolescents body mass index is used to measure obesity; it relates both height and weight that one has at one particular point. Children from America tend to eat a lot and they prefer the fatty foods such as potato fries, kebabs, pizzas, just to name but a few.

It even becomes worse if the child is from a low income family because; these foods constitute a big percentage of their daily meals. Some have to feed on carbohydrates as their major meal which they take in large quantities because of their enlarged body size. Poor nutrition leads to obesity which in turn causes illness or even death. Obesity in American children is one of health condition that is been caused by the lifestyle that people are continually adopting.

Obese and overweight children are advised to increase their daily intake of fruits and vegetables as this will help them to maintain an incredible figure. The increase in fruits and vegetables in ones diet does not mean decreasing the diet’s energy density. On the contrary, fruits and vegetables increase the energy density by replacing other food sources.

Preference of children obesity in America

According to National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Adolescent and School Health, 2008, the rate of children obesity in the past 30 year had tripled. In the 1980’s obesity preference rate for children aged 8-11 years was at 6.5%, however in the period between 1980 and 2008, the rate had increased to 11.6%. On the other extreme the preference rate of those aged between 11-19 years had reached 18.1% up from 5%.

A report by National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), showed that in the world there are approximately 17% children between the ages of 2-19 years who are obese. In 2001, it was estimated that about 8.5 per cent of 6 year old and about 15 per cent of 15 year old children were obese in America. In 2002 statistics conformed by British Medical Association, showed that 5.5% of boys and 7.5% of girls were obese.

Between 1995 and 2003, the preference of obese children rose from 10% up to 14%. The increase was higher 11-17 years old children when it rose from 11% to 17% (Institute of Medicine, 2004). National Health Service has become concerned about the trend and is put measures to reverse the trend, however recent statistics in America showed that 25% of boys between the age of two years and the age of nineteen years are overweight or obese.

Health officials are of the observation that there are 23million obese or overweight children in United States of America between the age of two years and nineteen years. Obese children are not healthy and are at the risk of developing diseases later in life or at tender age. According to CRC Health Group website 2000, 19% of children aged between the ages of 2-11 were obese and 17 % of those aged 12-17 years were obese (Institute of Medicine, 2004).

Causes of Obesity in Children

In a child’s development, he may develop a liking to certain categories of foods. He/she may be willing to take junk or sweet foods and this becomes his main meal.

And because the family may not be in a position to provide better food to supplement the meal the child becomes obese out of poor eating. This is an irresponsible behavior that parents should cut out before it becomes a problem. Eating healthily does not mean spending a lot of money on meals because there are some fruits and vegetables which are readily available and do not cost much.

Child obesity may also result from biological factors such as genetics. Research has shown that in families whose one or both parents are obese, there are high chances that children born in the family will be obese. This cause is the hardest to control since the body seem to accumulate fats at a faster rate.

What a parent can do in such a case is to act very cautious towards the foods that they give their children. The foods should contain as minimal fats as possible. In today’s market, there are a number of kiosks that are selling fast foods; they are mostly deep fried sweet foods which the children crave for. When parents are nurturing their children, they should teach them good eating habits so as they are aware of the dangers that come along with eating of junk foods (Allan, 2006).

Poverty and Obesity

Poverty is one of the major world concerns especially when it comes to developing economies; it is an issue that many poor people encounter face to face and the price that they pay is unbelievably very high. It is estimated that every year, a large number of children are admitted into schools while still encountering many challenges arising from poverty such as lack of proper food which the teachers are not able take care of as needs.

Even so, the definite meaning of poverty has never been agreed upon. Some scholars have defined poverty in terms of monetary ability while others have viewed poverty as the lack of capacity to meet the basic needs of life. The significance of poverty has attracted the attention of many governments and multinational corporations. These governments and organizations have always set targets for reducing poverty, particularly in ensuring that most children do not suffer out of poverty (Wolfendale, 2000).

A number of research findings have also indicated that the well being of every person is intricately linked to the functioning of the family in which he or she is being brought up in relation to socio-economic resources which are limited; these findings also indicate that the daily socio-economic challenges can negatively affect the health of both parents and children.

The negative effects as demonstrated by the parents, in turn, are reflected in the problems and challenges in the children’s own adjustments spanning various facets of social-emotional development.

One of these negative effects is poor nutrition that often leads to obesity in children as they grow up (Wolfendale, 2000). These families are not able to afford a balanced diet and the children eat only what is available; most of their diet is composed of large quantities of carbohydrates which leads to the accumulation of fats in the body thereby causing obesity.

Prevention of Obesity

The cure and prevention of obesity lies on nutrition. Healthy food contains adequate nutrients that one need for survival. Parents should go ahead and teach their children at tender age the need to eat healthy at all times. Metabolism in children starts from infancy. If the food that a parent eats when pregnant area regulated, it leads to an early prevention of obesity.. Programs should be set that are aimed at ensuring that parents are aware of what to give their children in order to protect them from obesity. Breast feeding up to age of six months should be encouraged since it has benefits to both the mother and the child.

1. Eating Fruits and Vegetables

Most government health agencies and departments such as World Health Organization (WHO) have been fighting with the growing problem of obesity and unhealthy eating. They have been advocating for a modification in the health program to include more fruits and vegetable.

Research has proved that, diets with a bigger portion of fruits and vegetables can lower or even prevent some illnesses such as cancer and heart diseases. Fruits and vegetables contain an implausible number of minerals and vitamins that are essential for our bodies (Johnson, et al 2003). Most of them contain a large portion of water essential for the skin for example watermelons which contains approximately 94 percent water.

Seeds contain fiber which assists the body in getting rid of waste substances and bowel movements. Fruits and vegetables come in different colors and contain different nutrients. It is advisable to take different varieties in order to obtain a wide range of benefits. Dark green vegetables such as spinach and cabbage are rich in carotenoids, vitamin E, and C that help in preventing heart diseases and cancer.

Cultural and socioeconomic differences between countries affect the promotion and intake of fruits and vegetables; nutritionists are advised to take this into account while promoting their intakes.

The promotion of fruits and vegetables has been an on going initiative in most of the developed nations such as United States, Australia, Britain and others although not much have been done in the developing nations. A wide range of programs and interventions that promotes the intake of fruits and vegetables in adults and children has been introduced by WHO (Johnson, et al 2003).

Out of all the studies that have been done, none has demonstrated a disadvantageous effect of the intrusions on the consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, the projects to promote fruit and vegetable intake should be based on scientific evidence for them to be successful.

They should be evaluated to ascertain what works best and what does not work. This helps in reducing the amount of money used that would other wise be wasted in doing things that do not work. Messages that are specific of country and culture have to be integrated into guidelines together with other diet messages

2. Physical Exercises

Physical exercises, is another way of preventing a child from becoming obese. Exercises should be introduced early enough in a child’s life. In early ages, children may be informed of plays that engage the body.

Exercises burn more calories in human bodies and thus the fats that could have been accumulated to cause obesity are reduced. Parents are advised to encourage their children to participate in sports and other activities that involve the body. Exercises have both preventive and curative objectives. Such exercises include sports for instance, tennis, soccer, basketball, swimming and gymnastics.

However, care should be exercised not to involve children with heart problems in these kinds of sports as they are likely to suffer due to their conditions (Allan, 2006). Other than controlling weight, children are able to interact with their peers, socialize, and develop good interpersonal skills through exercises. This will go far in assisting them in life. Sports in modern society have become a career where there are professional sportsmen like in foot ball, athletes and tennis.

As a way of entertainment sports develop a competitive mind in children, a character that is likely to assist the child in later years. There are some children that have no problem with playing with their mates and most cases they are at a lower risk of being obese. If parents realize that his child is not active in the field, it is his/her responsibility to encourage the child on importance of play.

Modern lifestyle has come up with different ways of entertainment. This includes the invention of computer games, televisions, and play station that can limit how active a child is in the field. Parents should take deliberate measures to ensure that, they monitor the way their children get involved in outside games. This will go far in preventing obesity in children.

3. Organic Foods

Organic food is the only type of food that can satisfy a wide range of consumers need and reduce the rate at which children become obese. These are foods that are grown without the use of fertilizers and contain very low fat. However, the prices of these foods are relatively higher than processed and it’s upon the government to intervene in lowering the prices.

Like consumers, farmers not only produce for profit but also to get satisfaction out of their produce. They feel happy when their produce is highly demanded and this encourages them to produce more. Peterson (2010) observed that people preferred processed foods to organic foods because of their low prices. He found out that, there is a strong imbalance between government subsidies to processed foods and that of organic foods.

He observes that, in United States, organic farmers received a sum of 825 million dollars in 2009. On the other hand, commodity crops farmers received an amazing 15.4 billion dollars. If only these subsidies were reduced on commodity farmers (such as corn and soybeans) and increased on organic food farmers, then the prices of organic foods would go down and become affordable to a bigger percentage of people.

Conclusion

Obese children are at a risk of diseases and live unhealthy life. They are vulnerable to diseases like cancer, high blood pressure, heart attacks, and Osteoarthritis. The most quoted reason why children become obese is modern lifestyles and the habits that human beings adopt; poor eating habits is the major reason. One of the surest ways to prevent and cure obesity is to ensure that children take balanced diet in all their meals.

Children experience poverty as the part of environment that interferes with there mental, spiritual, emotional and physical development. Moreover, the experience of children with regards to poverty is also through their hands, hearts and minds. For instance, when they begin a day without a nutritious meal the children’s emotional capacity and also their bodily growth are greatly hindered by poverty.

Children from low income families are not able to access a healthy meal which interferes their body functioning. They are likely to become obese as they grew up due to high intake of starchy food. There is therefore a strong call for involvement to perk up diet and health in order to curb the illnesses associated with poor nutrition. Nutritionists have argued that, water, fruits, and vegetables can be used to counteract this problem.

Reference List

Allen, M. (November 2006). “Nutrition in toddlers”. American family physician 74 (9): 1527–32

Institute of Medicine, (2004). Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures. Retrieved November 10, 2010 from http://www.eatsmartmovemorenc.com/Data/Texts/IOM_ChildhoodObesityFactsAndFigures.pdf

Johnson D.B, et al (2003). Increasing Fruit and Vegetable Intake in Homebound Elders: The Seattle Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Pilot Program. Public Health Research, practice, and policy. Retrieved on November 10, 2010 from, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC544526/

Peterson, T. (2010). Eating healthy still out of reach for many: Government subsidized profits. Retrieved November 10, 2010 from, http://voicesweb.org/eating-healthy-still-out-reach-many

Wolfendale, S. (2000). Special needs in the early years: snapshots of practice. New York: Routledge.