By: Courtney Lempner, Kate Lowman, and Miryam Rudolph
For the past decade, childhood obesity has been emerging as a significant problem. Many doctors and researchers have even started calling it an epidemic. Though there have been many changes to prevent the numbers rising, there are still many problems that need a solution.
What is Childhood Obesity?
Obesity is when the calorie intake in your body is much higher than how many calories you are burning, which results in extra body fat. This extra body fat is commonly shown in children ages 2-19. Childhood obesity occurs when a child eats too much, but moves too little. Adults have increased the portion size of food that their children eat. Studies have shown that children are not the cause of the problem, but the parents of the children are the problem.
What are the Consequences of Eating Unhealthily?
As children grow and keep continuing this bad habit of eating unhealthily, many consequences may happen. Obesity can ruin various systems in the body - including the heart, lungs, muscles, bones, kidneys, and the digestive tract. To children, it can also have an effect on puberty, or their ability to grow. Usually if children are obese during their childhood, they tend to continue to be overweight as an adult. Being obese as a kid may make you more prone to diseases and disabilities as an adult. It is estimated that 112,000 people in the U.S. will die this year of being overweight. According to the CDC, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, around 70% of overweight children have a likely chance of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, and mental/emotional disorders.
What are the Statistics of Childhood Obesity?
Over the past years, childhood obesity numbers have basically tripled. In the past decade, thirty-three percent of people from ages two to nineteen were obese. In 2007, it was 17%, which is about 12.5 million children. Now, one out of three children is overweight or obese. This has abundantly increased from 1980, where the obesity rate was only 7% in most cities. Childhood obesity is now happening earlier in life, around the ages of 2-5. Virginia's obesity rate has been rapidly increasing. Currently, we have a 27.2% obesity rate in this state, which is very close to our nation's rate.
What can we do to solve this problem?
As you can see, childhood obesity is a big issue in this country. Every year more and more people thinking of ways to resolve this problem. One way to resolve this worldwide epidemic is to provide more healthy snacks and less processed foods in grocery stores. All parents should also know tot balance their kid's diet, so people could set up a session, in your community, where parents can learn to balance their children's diet. Parents should limit the amount of electronic time their kids are using, such as television, computer, and phone time to less than two hours each day. Parents may start to wean children down electronic use to a specific time that suits the parents needs or wants. If parents keep cutting down time and make children go outside for at least an hour, then children will forget about all of these things and want to go outside more often. A great way to get you kids to enjoy going outside would be to create fun games, such as obstacles or races to keep children active and in a great mood. This will encourage them to go outside and have a fun time in your backyard. The last way to solve childhood obesity is creating a community garden with your friends and neighbors. After you've finished growing fruits and vegetables in your garden, you can harvest and eat them fresh!