An epidemic continues to plague the United States of America, according to the CDC childhood obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. These staggering numbers are a cause for concern due to the effects obesity can have on a child’s life. There are obvious health issues that may arise and although these are serious health problems, I believe the bigger issue stands with the social and emotional factors it may damage, often overlooked but are imperative to the early stages of child development. There are various steps parents can take to insure children are living a healthier lifestyle including a proper nutrition, active lifestyle and regulation of electronic devices.
Although some cases of obesity may be due to genetics, you can still help counteract those genes. An active lifestyle is a healthy lifestyle. One of the most important things parents can to do prevent excessive weight gaining is ensuring children stay active. This means having them put down that Xbox or iPad for an hour or two and have them play outside. I am a strong believer in youth sports or after school activities, with sports children will be active, learn responsibility, discipline, leadership skills and gain confidence thus becoming more social. All these traits are imperative to ensuring your child is successful in his/her future.
Along with an active lifestyle, proper nutrition is just as important. Weight is gained when we consume more calories than we burn off thru physical activity thus allowing extra calories to be stored in our bodies as fat. Rather than passing through the drive thru at Mcdonalds we must provide children with a healthier alternative and higher quality foods. Vegetables and fruits provide key vitamins and nutrition that are necessary for children’s bodies and mind to grow healthy. It is the parent’s responsibility to ensure their child is getting the proper nutrition. There are very simple and inexpensive recipe’s parents can find online for a quick healthy meal to provide for children.
The rise of child obesity has been linked to electronic devices such as computers, tablet devices, game consoles, and television. As Paul Veugelers, (a professor in the School of Public Health) said “If you want your kids to sleep better and live a healthier lifestyle, get the technology out of the bedroom”. Professor Veugelers makes a great point, electronics in the room can encourage children to stay up late past bedtime playing games. “Research showed that as little as one hour of additional sleep decreased the odds of being overweight or obese by 28 percent and 30 percent, respectively. Children with one or more electronic devices in the bedroom—TVs, computers, video games and cellphones—were also far more likely to be overweight or obese” (Medica.com). It is safe to say that the rise of technology is a cause for the increase in obesity. Parents must regulate the hours children spend on electronic devices and encourage a more active alternative.
The emotional effects of obesity can destroy children’s lives. A child that is obese is more susceptible to being bullied which may lead to social isolation, depression and a lower self-esteem. Depression and low self-esteem are serious issues that may ruin the lives of children, it effects the way they perform in school, makes them self-conscious about their body and effects their sociability, but most importantly suicide from depression takes the life of a precious soul every 13 minutes, that’s over 41,000 people a year. We must do everything we can to prevent any more children from feeling that emptiness and thinking the only way to escape their pain is taking their own lives this includes keeping them healthy and active.
Simple changes in the lives of children can have a huge impact on their early stages of development and ultimately give them a better chance of being successful in the future. An active lifestyle will implement leadership skills and confidence into their lives. Proper nutrition will help their mind and bodies develop healthy and also while preventing health problems such as asthma, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems, type 2 diabetes, and risk factors for heart disease. Regulating the amount time children use electronic devices courage’s them to go outside and be active also allows them to get a better night sleep rather than be up late using electronics. These steps are very easy to be implemented into their daily routines and requires only consistency it is your responsibility as parents to give your child the best life possible, following this with these steps you will be giving your child a great start in their lives.
Centers for Disease Control (https://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm)
(Paul Veugelers) MEDICA.de; Source: University of Alberta https://www.medica-tradefair.com/cgi-bin/md_medica/lib/pub/tt.cgi/Electronic_Devices_Linked_to_Poor_Sleep_And_Obesity.html?oid=39890&lang=2&ticket=g_u_e_s_t