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Childhood Obesity A heavy Burden

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The burgeoning of childhood obesity in the United States stems from many causes, from sedentary lifestyles to poor diet to lack of education – and solutions must be set in place toward reestablishing the health of our youth. But has America always had this problem with obesity? The answer is no. In fact, from 1960 to our present time, childhood obesity rates have more than tripled, soaring from 5 percent to 16.9 percent. This crisis that is seen through accelerated rates of obesity that has risen for 50 years must be addressed by society.There is a direct correlation between obesity and health problems, such as heart disease, strokes, cancer, and diabetes, and health care costs to treat these problems have reached epic proportions. In 2008, $147 billion was spent in medical costs to treat health problems due to obesity, and $116 billion was spent to care for diabetes in 2007. And when this generation is grows up and its metabolisms slow down, this rate will likely double for them − if they reflect today’s obesity rate amongst American adults, which is at 33.8 percent. And the foreboding statistics do not stop there. Many find it alarming that the very diseases incurred through obesity – which usually begins in childhood or is induced by poor habits learned during childhood – are on the top ten list of causes of death in Americans, with heart disease ranking as number one and diabetes registering in seventh place., (Heron, 2011). All of these statistics point to a pandemic problem with our nation’s youth that must be explored and evaluated before real changes can take place. Since approximately nine out of 10 children in this nation are enrolled in public education, it is only natural to believe that the policy makers of this massive system will be instrumental in bringing about the positive changes needed to minimize childhood obesity. The learning and practical application of knowledge – also known as wisdom – is the primary concern that educators must address today. Students must be taught how to make wise decisions regarding their health, as these concepts do not just come naturally to children. A case and point to demonstrate this reality would be to put a bowl of celery and carrot sticks next to a bag of potato chips and dip on a table in front of the classroom. Unless the students are properly trained or cognizant of possible negative reactions from adults around them, most would devour