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More Outdoor Activities and Less Video Games - Statistics for Childhood Obesity

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The statistics for childhood obesity is shocking. Worldwide, twenty-two-million children under the age of five are estimated to be overweight (Reese, 2010). The United States is ranked at number twenty for childhood obesity. Our nation has the best economy and the finest health care system, but nearly one in five of our children ages six to nineteen are obese (Rosemond, 2011). The numbers of obese children have tripled in the past three decades (Childhood Obesity, 2011). The causes of child obesity have numerous factors from: lack of nutritional meals and physical activities, genetics, social status, parental influences, and changes in society. The causes we will focus upon will be the lack of outdoor physical activities, unhealthy meals, healthy considerations, and the increase playing of video games. It is imperative that we start making progress on lowering the rates of childhood obesity, so our children can live a healthier.

Society has changed so much that we have so many accommodations today that didn't exist thirty years ago. Years ago our parents walked five to six miles to school or even rode their bikes. Today, the public transportation system is everywhere. Children either ride the bus to school or they get a ride from their parents. According to the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan, children today in the United States spend fifty percent less time outdoors than they did twenty years ago (Jahnke, 2009). These factors alone are grueling and have decreased the amount of physical exercise a child gets on a daily basis.

Today you rarely see children outside playing kickball, basketball, or even riding a bike. These are activities that have dwindled over the years. These are the activities that children need to engage in day-to-day in order to burn off the calories they have consumed and to stay fit. Playing outdoors has more benefits than physical activities. Playing outdoors also helps our children to increase their social skills (Hausmann, 2006). Children who play outdoors on a consistent basis have lower risk factors for obesity and aggressive behavior, but have improved concentration and motor skills (Hausmann, 2006). We as parents have a big role in our children outdoor activities. We have to encourage family walks or runs, buy sporting equipment such as jump ropes and bikes, enroll them in extra-curriculum activities such as little league, football, and summer camps, and give them active chores like cutting grass.

One of the most influential factors of child obesity is the advancement of technology. Children are so involved in technology because is readily at their fingertips. Technology has a variety of gaming systems like Play station III, Wii, and X-Box Kinect. Television, today, have specialized cable networks with over two-hundred channels, computers, internet, IPAD's and cell phones that are multi-functional. Children have become accustom to playing videos for hours and they don't desire the need to go outside to engage in physical activities. The Kaiser Family Foundation published a report in January 2010, the report reported that children ages eight to eighteen years old spend more than seven and a half hours per day involved in some form of media (Anonymous, 13 April). even It is estimated that seventy percent of children have televisions in their room (Anonymous, 13 April).

On an average week day children spend nearly six hours a day playing video games versus thirty minutes of outdoor activities. The number above is doubled to thirteen hours a day on the weekends. We have to get our children away from the game controllers and back to a bat and ball in their hands. The world is constantly changing, but we need our children to get back in the habits, of running around on the playground, riding their bikes, and swimming. These are the activities that children of earlier generations once enjoyed, and with a little encouragement we can them back to outdoor play.

The way that parents can assist their child is by making lifestyles changes. Weight loss should not be a quick fix. It should be a steady process that parents and children adapt too and maintain (Kushner, D, 2010). Child obesity in the United States is widely spreading. The many health factors consist of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol (Childhood Overweight and Obesity, n.d).



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