by Korin Sutton
“The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we
suffer in soul or we get fat.” -Albert Einstein.
Today in America we have a huge epidemic problem and that is childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is growing and it is growing fast, especially in America. Our society has been influence to eat unhealthy foods by commercials we see on televisions, billboards, and radio stations. The most recent study from 2009-2010 according to United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 1) 17% or 12.5 million of children and teens are considered obese. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also mentioned, “That foods with high in total calories, sugar, salt, fat, and low in nutrients are highly advertised and marketed through media targeted to children and teens, while advertising for healthier foods is almost nonexistent in comparison” (CDC 1).
Foods that are mostly high in calories, salt, and low in nutrients are from the fast food and soft drink companies. According Tom Philpott’s article “The Fast-Food Industry’s $4.2 Billion Marketing Blitz” Fast food industries are spending about $4.2 billion dollars on marketing, and all of these commercials are telling children to eat their unhealthy foods. In 2009 it is reported that the average preschooler between the ages two and five watches about 2.8 television ads per day (Philpott 1). Children from six through eleven watched about 3.5 ads per day (Philpott1). And children from twelve through seventeen watched about 4.7 ads per day (Philpott 1).
If children are watching that many commercials everyday, it is very simple to be influence to eat their foods. Especially since we are in a recession, McDonald’s, Burger King, and Dominos has
Sutton 2 lowered their prices so people can afford to buy their food. For example if one looks at the McDonald’s dollar menu. Everything on the that menu from cheese burgers, chicken nuggets, small french fries, and soft drinks. Then Domino’s medium pizza it use to cost $10 now you can buy up to three medium pizza
for $15 with there new 5,5,5 deal. Anything that a parent would easily buy for there child or the child can easily afford it themselves.
Another reason why childhood obesity is on a rise is because of our school system. According to CDC, “About 55 million school aged children are enrolled in school in america and more than half of middle and high schools still offer sugar drinks and less healthy foods for purchase through out the day” (CDC1). The school system needs to start putting more healthier foods in vending machines like peanuts, trial mix, or low calorie chips. Putting vending machines that are full of soft drinks, potato chips, cookies, and ice cream is not the best option for a child to be eating. Eating junk food does not give sufficient energy that the child needs throughout the day. This is not helping the epidemic of childhood obesity.
School systems are not teaching today’s children about good nutrition or physical education. Schools right now are taking out physical education classes. Students are not taking the time to go workout on their own. According to Geraldine Seaely’s article “Just Do It? Many Schools Are Cutting Gym”, More than 60 percent of children aged 9 to 13 do not participate in any organized physical activity during their non-school hours (Seaely 1). Students are not doing any type of physical activity at either school or home. In America, we are ruining our future children. Having children stay inside all day watching television, eating unhealthy foods, going to school and not even doing any type of physical activity, and then the school is promoting bad eating habits by feeding them vending machines full of junk food. How can childhood obesity be solved? The children minds are being flooded to eat more junk, exercise less, and do nothing.
Today’s children’s are stuck at home watching television or playing video games. Children
Sutton 3 need to be outside playing some type of sports or physical activity. Technology also has taken a toll in
childhood obesity. With the new video games that are out today. Who does not want to stay in and play all these new titles that come out every month? But with all good things need to see if there child is staying home inside all day just playing video games and they are not getting any type of physical activity. Then that is when the parents has to take a stand and try to get their child up and going and do some thing outside.
Taking physical education out of school is not the smartest thing to do. Schools are putting more effort for students to pass state test scores for reading and math, and one would think this is a good thing but it is not. According to Geraldine Seaely’s article, a study was conducted by the California Department of Education and it showed that higher academic achievement was associated with higher levels of fitness. Physical fitness plays a huge role to fight childhood obesity. But every state varies on either if physical fitness classes should even be in schools or how many hours a student are recommended to take through out there school year.
In Florida, 58 percent of children do not attend gym class in any given week (Seaely 1). While Illinois is the only state that requires daily physical fitness daily in all class levels (Sealely 1). More states need to follow Illinois, they are prime example of fighting childhood obesity. Every one needs to participate and try to encourage schools, parents, and even children to have a better eating habit and start doing more aerobic physical activities.
Childhood obesity has many health dangers. According to CDC, children who are obese are at risk for the following health conditions: Coronary heart disease, type two diabetes, breast caner, colon cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, stroke, liver disease, gallbladder disease, infertility, and many respiratory health problems. In another study 70% of obese children had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor and 39% had two or more (CDC 1).
Sutton 4 Children who are obese now are more likely to be obese when they are an adult. And when they
become adults these health problems will be more severe. No child should be facing these type of problems at such a young age. Who wants to live with any type of problem just because one is overweight or obese? All of these dangers can be easily prevented. There is no excuse why a child should be overweight or obese. Here is some examples what you can do to prevent childhood obesity.
Shopping at a local farmers market or super market and choose more healthier foods to cook at home than eating out at a fast food restaurant. A parent can replace that with a home cook meal like chicken breast, carrots, and water. Also remember, when cooking at home make sure your child is getting the right portion of food for his body weight and physical activity level.
In your state and community when enrolling a child in school, try to enroll the school he or she is going into the USDA’s Team Nutrition program and apply for certification through the Healthier US School Challenge. This recognize schools that have created and promotes healthier lunch and physical activity programs. In April 3, 2012 forty six states has participated and 3,098 schools have been certified (CDC 1).
Another way to help beat childhood obesity is to help support schools physical education and activities programs back into school. Also, promote more free access to drinking water than buying sugary drinks from vending machines. We have to beat childhood obesity. Do not let food ruin ones life. Food should be a one of the greatest pleasures in life. Eating healthy foods will keep you well nourished and live a very long and healthy life.
Do not let American children fall into this ridiculous trap of obesity. Once a child is obese it is hard to reverse the damages that they have already done. Remember what Albert Einstein said, “ The devil has put a penalty on all things we enjoy in life. Either we suffer in health or we suffer in soul or we get fat.”
United States . “Growing Problem”. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention . Atlanta : ,
Sealey, Geraldine. “Just Do It? Many Schools Cutting Gym Clas.” ABCNEWS 30 Sep 2011, 1. Web.
17 Apr. 2012.
Philpott, Tom. “The fast-food industry’s $4.2 billion marketing blitz.” Grist. (2011): 1. Web. 17 Apr. 2012.