In order for one to understand child obesity, one must clearly have a definitive answer to what child obesity is. According to the Mayo Clinic staff (2010), childhood obesity is a condition in which a child’s weight is not normal. Furthermore, child obesity is a growing epidemic within our society. ‘Alarmingly, an additional 31% of children under the age of 18 are at risk of being overweight’, (Lawrence, 2010, p.309).There are a lot of problems and consequences that comes with obese children such as: depression and low self-esteem. Not only is obese children considered to be abnormal; obese children are also effected mentally, physically, and socially. According to Lawrence, (2010) ‘children who are obese report being teased three times more often than average weight children’ (p.312).
Although childhood obesity accumulates problems such as depression and low-self esteem; however, one of the major problems that needs to be taken into consideration is the long term effects. Gilchrist and Zametkin (2006) argue that the cost for medical attention due to diseases that originated from obesity has more than doubled over the past 20 years. Further, it is practically inevitable for obese children to grow up and develop chronological health problems. Gilchrist and Zametkin (2006) suggests that a child who have a body mass index (BMI) of a 95 percentile or more, are in danger of growing up and developing an overweight medical condition. Obesity is identified by our Body Mass Index (BMI). The (BMI) is found by “dividing weight (kg) by height squared (m2)” (Gilchrist & Zametkin, 2006, para. 3).
It would seem quite logical to blame parents for child obesity. However, this should not always be the case. There are many factors that correlate with child obesity. Haslam (2009) argues that childhood obesity is a problem within our society that encourages children to eat as much food as they want. He then proceed to argue that the “ultimate responsibility lies with the government to invest sufficient resources in importing community prevention strategies that have been shown to work” (Haslam, 2009, para. 2).Although Haslam’s points are logical, in contrast, child obesity starts within the home. “Current research suggests that children with active parents are 6 times more likely to be physically active themselves” (Gilchrist & Zametkin, 2006, para. 11). Children are the products of their parents; if children see their parent striving to be healthy, then more and likely the child would follow their lead.
Parents should stand and take the majority of the blame. If children are the product of their parents, then it would be logical to say that if the parent is obese; more and likely the child will be obese. Furthermore, it is safe to say that some parents are nonchalant when raising their children. According to Booth (2007), parents that raised the issue of their child being overweight and obese “were unanimous that it was the doctor’s responsibility as a health professional to raise the issue with them if he or she was concerned, as long as the discussion also included advice” (p.3). Therefore, in order to help this issue, parents must strive to start within the home.
“Current national estimates indicate that one third of US children and adolescents are overweight or obese” (Estabrooks, 2008, p.1). Studies show that child obesity has tripled over the course of 20 years (Gilchrist & Zametkin, 2006). If child obesity increased over the last 20 years, then what is causing our children health in today’s society to weakened? Sure there may be more fast food restaurants than the past, non-healthy food may be easy accessible and technology may at our fingertips; however, is this really the causes to the increase in childhood obesity?We as a society should take half the blame for the increase in child obesity. It should be common sense to what foods are healthy and non-healthy for our youth; however, one study show that food advertisements on children networks can easily persuade the child into what to eat (Ron Warren, 2008). Furthermore, when children eat at fast food restaurants, generally they are given a toy with their meal. Consequently, this gesture helps persuade our children to eat at fast food restaurants.
There may be cases when the child is obese because of their genetics. If a child has a particular gene that causes him/her to become obese, then the child is practically helpless. However, Malecka-Tendera and Mazur argues that (2006), obesity “is obviously not possible for the gene pool to change in one or two generations; molecular genetic abnormalities can presently account for less that 5% of obese individuals” (p.2). Therefore, according to this study, stating that genetics may play a role in childhood obesity is not valid.
Child obesity is a very serious and dangerous condition. It is obvious that poor dieting and lack of exercising can cause bad health; however, it is not so obvious with children. Children may be over look when it comes to focusing on their weight. However, according to Swain and Sacher (2009), “there is a high chance that child obese kids could develop continual diseases such as: insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, breathing problems such as sleep apnea and asthma” (p.1). Therefore, even if it may seem cute to have a cute chubby kid, it may also be worth paying attention to the child’s weight.
There may be a link between child obesity and social economic status (SES). According to one study, “the obesity rates are highest among minority populations. ‘Hispanic boys and African American girls have the highest rates of obesity, with 22.1 percent of Hispanic boys and 27.7 percent of African American girls classified as obese’, (Currie, Stamps, & Treadwell, 2010, para. 3). Furthermore, study show that obesity is higher among African American and Latinos in about 40 states along with Washington D.C. (Currie et. al., 2010)According to one study, there is a 35% chance you are obese if you make less than $15,000 per year (Currie et. al., 2010). All factors such as race, environment, and household income can all play a role with child obesity.
One of the most effective ways to help child obese victims is introducing them to intervention programs. It is obvious that child obesity is a serious condition. In this regard, social workers have a major opportunity in helping these children. They can implement intervention programs to help these children with their issues such as: appearance, mental health, and social life (Lawrence, 2010). These intervention programs can be extremely beneficial for the victim. ‘Children who are obese report being teased three times more often than average children’ (Lawrence, 2010, p.312). As childhood, obesity continues to increase in society “so to does the responsibility of social workers to implement multi level interventions” (Lawrence, 2010, p.309).
Child obesity can be controlled. However, one of the factors to look at is how can it be controlled. Small tips can go a long way when trying to contain one’s weight. Specifically with children, they definitely need help in order to control their weight. Futhermore, Waehner (2009) offered great tips when watching children weight. He stated that one should not keep excessive junk food in the house. If junk food is not in the house, then it would be hard for them to easily have it. Parents should also plan healthy meals. Although taking time out of our busy lives to plan home cooked meals may seem tedious; however, in the end it would extremely helpful towards children health.Another tip parents could utilize to help minimize their child’s weight is putting their in some type of physical activity program. These program could include: basketball, YMCA, AAU tournaments ..etc.