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Childhood Obesity in Preschool Aged Children

Essay by   •  January 14, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  3,387 Words (14 Pages)  •  1,397 Views

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Childhood Obesity in Preschool Aged Children

Childhood obesity has become a big health problem within the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese (2012). Childhood obesity is a serious medical condition that can impact a child with lifelong health problems. Some health problems can include high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, type 2 diabetes, low self esteem and a variety of other major health problems. Children are considered overweight if their body mass index is over the 85th percentile and considered obese if their body mass index is at or above the 95th percentile. According to the Life Science Weekly, a new report adds to the growing body of evidence indicating that childhood obesity is linked to a lack of exercise, and not to caloric consumption. The new report also shows that regardless of food intake, exercise is the central determinant of whether kids are overweight (2005). But are the parents at fault? The number of overweight and obese preschool aged children in America has increased at an alarming rate over the past years, and there is no chance of it slowing down unless action is taken. According to kids health, 1 out of 3 kids are now considered overweight or obese (2012).

Being that childhood obesity has been an ongoing problem for the last several years. Parents should be educated on health care issues and how to maintain good health through the years with their children. Classes should be mandatory for new parents before being discharged from the hospital, just like the shaking baby syndrome classes. Hospitals or clinics should have short briefings on health issues and ways to prevent them when returning to well baby check up appointments and on into pre-teenage years. These briefings should talk about nutritious foods, snacks, and beverages that are good for children and the maximum caloric intake for the children's age, height and weight group. According to the Health and Medicine week journal, nutrition information should be covered in school curricula, and resources for parents should be available. Children need to be educated about the importance of balancing a healthy diet with daily physical activity for a healthy lifestyle (2003).

Parents should consider looking at themselves as the cause for their child being obese. There are many things that parents can do to prevent this issue. The parents are the providers and the role models. Parents are responsible for feeding and clothing children daily. According to Obesity and Diet Week, the parents play an important role in the determination of the food preferences of children and the development of obesity. "Parental style is a critical factor in the development of food preferences. Children are more likely to eat in emotionally positive atmospheres. Siblings, peers, and parents can act as role models to encourage the tasting of novel foods (2004). Since the parents are the ones who provide for their children, they have direct control on what their children are consuming, so they should be able to help their children maintain a weight. With that being said, parents should think twice before buying so many unhealthy items at the grocery store. Children beg for these items at the store and parents tend to give in just to see their kids happy. There must be some guidelines set. Some manufacturers do make healthy items set for kids that are quite tasteful. According to a study by Langevin, Kwiatkowski and McKay (2007) it is estimated that 75% of children fail to meet recommended daily intake for grains, vegetables, fruits, and dairy products. Parents should encourage eating healthy habits from infants until adulthood. Eating healthy has become a thing of the past nowadays, when it comes to parents because they think that healthy foods are more expensive and all they are worried about is feeding their children. According to a 2010 study published in the journal 'Psychological Science," the cost of healthy food such as fruits and vegetables has increased almost 200 percent since 1983 and cost of unhealthy foods, on the other hand, has changed less. When it comes to meeting your daily calorie requirements, it's a lot cheaper to do it with unhealthy foods. Most parents like to take their kids to McDonalds to get a happy meal just to fill them up not worried about the calories or anything. For example, let's say you need to eat 2,000 calories based on your age, weight and level of physical activity. According to a 2007 study published in the "Journal of the American Dietetic Association," you could get 1,000 calories for under a couple of dollars if you're buying unhealthy foods such as high-fat snacks. However, getting 1,000 calories from healthy foods will cost you close to $20. This is because healthy food is lower in calories, so you need to buy more of it to meet your caloric intake. That's on top of the fact that healthy foods already cost more, in general. So you decide what is right for your child. Would you rather to spend more money or worry about the long term effects in the years to come.

Usually when parents get off from work, they are exhausted and just want to come home and relax. But dinner has to be served. Parents will take the fastest way out because other things have to done. When children have unhealthy, fatty or sugary foods are consumed along with deficient amounts of exercise, obesity is usually the outcome. According to Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, eating high-calorie foods regularly like fast foods, baked goods and vending machine snacks increases weight (2008). Instead of cooking fried fatty processed food, parents should consider baking or grilling food to prevent weight gain. In order to have healthy meals within the home, menus should be thought out and published. Figure out what your children like and dislike and go from there. It is always easier to prepare the meals a day prior or even hours prior. Parents should set a designated time to prepare the next day's dinner. That makes it easier to just get off from work and throw you ingredients in the oven or whichever way you prefer to make it a healthy meal. Sometimes parents have those days, were they have it in their mind that they are not cooking anything when they get home. So they decide to stop and get fast food. According to the National Association of Children's Hospitals and Related Institutions, research shows that almost one-third of U.S. children between ages four and nineteen eat fast food every day; resulting in a weight gain of about six extra pounds each year, per child. Fast food consumption has increased fivefold among children since 1970. Because of the abundance and availability of unhealthy foods, children are prone to becoming

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