Who is to Blame for Childhood Obesity? A Review of Literature Stephen Carl & Sandhya Joshi Lourdes University Author Note This paper was prepared for English 102, Section D, taught by Lynda Hoffman Abstract Childhood obesity is a major concern amongst our growing youth. This research project argues the various factors that cause childhood obesity. These factors include parental control, income, time management, environment, technology and genetics. It also offers information on several programs such as Let’s Move! and Just- For-Kids. rg that assist families on eating right and other healthy habits that can lead o an improved lifestyle. Our research for this project consists of academic articles and online sources. In conclusion, there are several reasons that cause a child to become obese, therefore there should be more programs and assistance to help decrease this issue. TECHNOLOGY Another major problem in the ongoing childhood obesity epidemic is technology. Technology has become a part of most American children’s daily life starting a very young age.
Whether it’s a computer or a tablet, a video game console such as a Wii or an X-box, a smartphone or something as simple as the television, it is no question hat technology is a major problem in the ongoing childh obesity epidemic. Statistics show that laptops are being developed for children as young as five (Layton, n. d. ). Smart phones are now in the hands of children as young as 10 years old (Layton, n. d. ). A 2010 survey on media use in 8- 18 year olds show that this age group spends an average of 10 hours and forty-five minutes per day exposed to media (Fals, 2013. ).
When you consider that a child is asleep for at least 8 hours a day, in school for another 6 – 8 hours that only leaves 6 – 8 hours that a child is awake. If the above statistic is accurate, that means that a child spends his entire waking hours in front of a screen, with no room for active playtime. Compared to the 1970’s, when there was little to nothing by way of home entertainment, children now on average have 30 – 40 different games and at least three different game consoles at their immediate disposal and 200 plus channels to choose from, thanks to satellite and cable networks (Cespedes, 2013. . For these reasons, more and more children choose to stay inside in front of a screen instead of outside being active burning calories. However; some parents argue that technology is a good thing. They believe it will assist their children in placing them in better technological Jobs once they are older. 60% of all high paying Jobs involve some sort of technology use (Fals, 2013. ). Technology is an important part of our future; however, keeping our children active and healthy is more important so they actually have a future to enjoy.
There needs to be a balance where children are taught to be social, play team sports, play hide and go seek and tag and other outdoor activities and are not Just sat in front of a creen as if gaming consoles and televisions are babysitters. The U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children who spend 3 or more hours a day in front of some type of technology has between a 17 and 44 percent increase of risk of being overweight, or a 10 to 61 percent increase risk in obesity (Cespedes, 2009).
With statistics like these, there is no doubt that children who prefer to stay indoors in front of a screen versus actively playing outdoors have a greater risk of being obese. GENETICS Some children are at greater risk of obesity because of genetic factors. These hildren have the same genes from their parents that make their bodies gain weight easily (Storace, 2013). This would have been great years ago, when food was hard to find and people were more active. Today, however, this can work against people who have these genes.
Obesity can also be linked to rare genetic conditions, such as Prader-Willi syndrome (Albin, 2013. ). Prader-Willi syndrome is a genetic condition that affects many parts of the body (Albin, 2013. ). In babies, this condition is characterized by frail muscle tone, feeding complications, poor growth, and delayed development (Albin, 2013. ). Some childhood affects include increased appetite, which leads to overeating and obesity. Researchers also use a method called Genome-wide Complex Trait Analysis or GCTA to investigate the molecular genetic heritability of body weight in children (Karnik, 2012).
GCTA shows that some people are more inherently similar to one another than others. Using the GCTA method, the researchers found that additive effects of multiple genes across the whole genome accounted for 30 % of individual differences in childhood body weight (Karnik, 2012). These findings are important because they confirm that children’s genes play a very mportant role in determining body weight. While genetics may not be the main factor in childh obesity, it should not be discounted. It still supports the fact that children of obese parents are most at risk of being obese (Karnik, 2012).
PROGRAMS While there are simple steps parents can take to assist their children in the fght against childhood obesity, there are also several national and local programs parents can look into that also help children. The most popular program, Let’s Move! is a government funded program created by first Lady Michelle Obama. Let’s Move! is evoted to children so that they grow up healthier and happier (letsmove. org, n. d. ). Among the various activities and programs Let’s Move! promotes, they also give public schools guidance towards healthy school lunches. While this sounds like a great idea, some say the Let’s Move program isn’t ideal.
Some parents are in an uproar that the new school lunches are starving children, leaving them unable to focus and concentrate during class. Others parents are for the program, saying it keeps their overeating children on track during times when they are not around to monitor their children’s eating habits. Regardless, Let’s Move! is dedicated to offering helpful information that supports healthy choices to ensure that every family has access to healthy, affordable food and assists children in becoming more physically active (letsmove. org, n. d. ). Just-for-Kids. rg is the nation’s leading obesity prevention program Oust-for-kids. org, n. d. ). The program has been test and reviewed over the past 15 years. Just For Kids! was developed at the University of California School of Medicine, and was effectively tested in San Francisco schools Oust-for- kids. org, n. d. ). According to their website, Just For Kids! s a health education program for all children which help them make changes in their diet, exercise, communication and affect which result in decreased obesity, improved cardiovascular and physical fitness, and increased nutrition knowledge Oust-for- kids. org, n. d. ). Just For Kids! ses several techniques that allow children to make small changes where they are not meant to feel overwhelmed or defeated. The program is contained in a 154 page children’s workbook that teaches them how to accept their body and become physically active and eat a diet that is healthy but not epriving Oust-for-kids. org, n. d. ). The workbook also includes a scoreboard for weekly goals along with charts and tables showing nutrition, exercise and behavior guidelines Oust-for-kids. org, n. d. ). Just For Kids! proclaims that their program is so gentle and protective that any child could benefit from participating Oust-for-kids. org, n. . ). Locally, The Junior League of Toledo hosts an annual event appropriately named Kids in the Kitchen. This free event is held every year in downtown Toledo, Ohio. The event is very interactive and allows children to be hands on, showing them ow to live a healthy life. Upon arriving at this family-friendly event, you are given a bag with healthy treats, weight conscience recipes, water bottles and other goodies that all relate toa positive lifestyle. Once registration is completed, one enters a room where children can participate in a cooking demonstration. One example ofa recipe used during this event is corn and black bean salsa.
Every ingredient is fresh and no additives are used. Children are also able to complete an obstacle course as many times as they would like, each stint attempting to beat their previous time. Other interactivities include a small tennis lesson, children’s zumba classes, Jump roping, aerobics and dancing. There are also stations where children are able to make healthy food choices. Plastic foods of all kinds are placed in a basket. If the children are able to choose the healthy s from the bad foods, they win a prize. All the activities, prizes and food served at the Kids in the Kitchen event revolve around the health of children.
It’s a great way to immerse a child in learning by being hands on versus Just being told what to do. CONCLUSION There is no single factor that causes childhood obesity. Childhood obesity is caused by many things including a child’s eating habits, their lifestyle, parental control, income, genetics, technology and environment. Children learn by example, so if a child is taught early on healthy habits, it educates them to continue those habits throughout their life. While some technology is needed and healthy for educational purposes, it should not be a child’s only daily focus.
When children begin school, it’s one of the first times they are really away from home and able to make decisions on heir own. Here is where they are able to take the lessons they learned at home and apply them to their daily lives. They are able to choose between chips and an apple. If they are educated properly, they will understand why chips are okay every once in a while but why an apple is the better choice. Genetics only cover a small portion of why a child could be considered obese. It is still an active lifestyle and good eating habits that give children the opportunity to live happy and healthy.
While parents can blame school lunches and schools point their finger at the parents, both need to ome together and fght for what’s important; the children and their health. Together, along with small lifestyle changes and the assistance of local and national weight loss programs, the fight against childhood obesity can be as simple as a walk in park. References: Albin, A. (2013, January 14). Childhood obesity linked to more immediate health problems than previously thought. Retrieved from http://newsroom. ucla. edu/portal/ ucla/childhood-obesity-associated-with-242401 . aspx . Cespedes, A. (2009, December 4).
Obesity in children & technology. Retrieved from http://www. ivestrong. com/article/46320-obesity-children-technology/ . Fals, A. (2013, August 9). Childhood obesity & technology – what’s the connection. Retrieved from http://www. floridahospital. com/blog/childhood-obesity-technology-whats- connection . Just for Kids. (n. d. ). In Just for Kids. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from www. ]ust-for- kids. org. Karnik, S. Kanekar, A. (2012, January 3). Childhood obesity: A global public health crisis. Retri from http://www. ncbi. nlm. nih. gov/pmc/articles/PMC3278864/ . Lallanilla,M. (2013, February 24).
Obesity among kids: A media problem. Retrieved rom http://abcnews. go. com/Health/Living/story? id=118227 . Layton, J. (n. d. ). Is technology behind the rise in childhood obesity. Retrieved from http://tlc. howstuffworks. com/family/technology-behind-rise-of-childhood- obesity. htm . Let’s Move!. (n. d. ). In Let’s Move!. Retrieved October 23, 2013, from www. letsmove. gov . Marcus, L. Baron, A. (n. d). The effects on physical and mental health. Retrieved from http://www. aboutourkids. org/articles/ childhood_obesity_effects_physical_mental_health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. In Health Topics.
Retrieved October 23, 013 from www. nhlbi. nih. gov/health/health-topics/topics/obe/ . No Author. (n. d). Obesity prevention foundation: Solutions. Retrieved October 19, 2013 from http://www. obesitypreventionfoundation. org/solutions. shtml . Orszag, P. (2013, September 17). The practical way to fght childhood obesity. Retrieved from http://www. bloomberg. com/news/2013-09-17/the-practical-way-to- fight-childhood-obesity. html . Storace, R. (2013, March 13). Experts weigh in on childhood obesity. Retrieved from http://abcnews. go. com/blogs/health/2013/03/13/experts-weigh-in-on-childhood- obesity/ .