Child obesity is a social epidemic presenting challenges to the Government, society and the American family today. It crosses a variety of ethnic, geographic, economic and social environments.
Obesity is causing an increase strain on the healthcare system, contributing to the $150 billion annual cost of healthcare provided, which is a breakdown of almost 10 percent of the National medical budget. Obesity increases risks for diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and even cancer. (National center for the chronic disease prevention and health promotion, division of nutrition, physical activity and obesity, 2011, p. 1)
“Approximately one in six children are obese in ...view middle of the document...
In urban areas, neighborhood crime, unattended dogs, or lack of space, and inadequate lighting can prevent kids from having a protected place to participate in outdoor recreation. Busy traffic, congested road ways and lack of supervision for safety can hinder children from walking or biking to school as a means of daily exercise. (Bishop, Middendorf, Babin, & Tilson, 2005, para. 15)
The social impact of obesity can be cited as evidenced by discrimination against overweight individuals increasing 66 percent over the past decade despite the fact that more adults are becoming overweight. (Neighmond, 2010, p. 1) Alienation, teasing and bullying are on the rise by peers, family members, communities and in some cases even Teachers. (Neighmond, 2010, para. 6)
Eating habits also contribute to obesity. Studies suggest that parental food preferences directly influence and shape those of their children. (Bishop et al., 2005, para. 21) Americans are eating more processed foods, in larger portions, more frequently and passing these habits along to the younger population. Cultural traditions can also influence the food choices and eating habits within a family unit. The consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables has decreased. In rural and urban areas these foods are not as readily available. Economically, the cost can be challenging for those watching their spending. Turn out that the diet that is affordable is turning out to be an unhealthy choice. Due to the, “on the go lifestyle”, convenience has become one of the main criteria for American’s food choices today. (Bishop et al., 2005, para. 8) There are inconsistent results showing a definitive connection with high or low income environments and the incidence of obesity, this continues to be studied.
Attitudes about weight may be changing as more and more adults become overweight and obese. There may be a mixture of positive and negative attitudes about being overweight. People who are especially thin may be presumed to be sick, addicted to drugs, too poor to have enough to eat. Some may believe that extra weight will be useful in case of a food shortage or serious illness. In some family environments, parents and other family members may consider being overweight as normal, perhaps even excuse the condition as being determined by heredity. Among some ethnic groups, shapeliness, robustness, and nurturing qualities may be standards of female attractiveness that encourage the overall acceptance of people who, by BMI standards, are otherwise considered overweight or obese. An example of a social double standard is found in a study that found that, “African American girls were more likely than white girls to try to gain weight, largely because their parents told them they were too thin”. (Kumanvika & Grier, 2006, para. 22)
Activity among children has been on the decline with the introduction of activities that limit physical involvement like watching TV, playing video games and...