Obesity in America is becoming a huge problem, especially in children. Statistics show that almost 60% of children in America are obese or overweight, and the number is still growing. Believe it or not, childhood obesity in America is becoming a huge threat to the future of our children.
Childhood obesity is a serious issue that each one of us, especially parents, need to address. Parents should educate each other regarding this topic so they can equip themselves with the knowledge to battle childhood obesity in America. I'm sure many of us are unaware, or not up to date, of the issues that surround child obesity. To have just a glimmer of hope in winning this battle, we need to find out why this is happening. What are the factors that lead to childhood obesity, and how do we prevent it? There are many factors that are presumed to be the culprits of childhood obesity. These are what are believed to be the major causes of childhood obesity in America, and around the globe for that matter. The following are just some of the leading causes of obesity in children.
- Lack of exercise - many of our children nowadays lack the physically active lifestyle that they require. They have become less interested in school or community sports programs. Physical education in schools has become almost non-existent. In fact, when a budget cut looms for a school district, one of the first programs to go is PE. This is truly an abomination, one that our politicians don't seem to understand is having a very negative impact on society.
- Poor diet - what are parents feeding their children nowadays? What are school cafeterias giving your kids during lunch? Are parents still paying attention to the food pyramid, or are they just giving their kids whatever they can grab from the fridge? Well, maybe some parents are providing healthy meals for their kids, but still tolerate their between meal cravings. Chips, candy, burgers, and pizza? Wow! Those are supposed to be treats, but kids are eating it for brunch or mid-afternoon snack like they're nothing. Schools have candy and soda vending machines in the hallways, as well as school stores that are stocked full of goodies. When was the last time a child, or adult for that matter, grabbed a healthy snack out of a vending machine? Probably never as they are not generally stocked with healthy choices.
- Technology addiction - instead of playing basketball or baseball in the playgrounds, kids nowadays prefer watching high definition television or playing basketball or baseball on video games. Too much TV and video games is not healthy. The only part of their body that is getting stronger from doing all of these are their thumbs, from pressing the TV remote and game pads too often. Granted there are now games that actually require physical activity, but these are not always the games that children choose to play on a regular basis. Instead, they grab a bag of chips, a soda, and sit down for hours on end to kill the next alien or throw a 30 yard pass from the comfort of a couch. It is time that we put a cap on the amount of time kids can spend in front of a screen! Whether it be TV, video games, or computer addiction, kids are spending far too much time being lazy and inactive.
- Lack of sleep - recent studies show that when a person is deprived of sleep, that person is at risk of becoming overweight or obese. The reason is because of a couple of hormones: ghrelin and leptin. The lack of sleep causes an increase in ghrelin which triggers the hunger mechanism. Sleep deprivation also reduces the leptin in our bodies that tells us when we are no longer in need of food (energy). The effects of these two hormones working together is what helps keep us away from the pantry. When they are off balance, people have almost no way to ward off the hunger, which of course leads to overeating and thus weight gain. So, talk to your physician and find out how much sleep your little ones need, and make sure you follow his/her advice!
These are just some of the causes of obesity in children these days. Sure there may be other excuses, like genetics or chemical imbalances, but the majority of overweight kids tend to have issues in one of the four areas above. No wonder they're getting bigger and bigger. For more information on how to prevent childhood obesity, please visit