Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity has been a problem for many years. In the last five years or so, you may have started to hear more about it. Childhood obesity is the most serious and well known nutritional disorder in the United States alone. Childhood obesity is a form of parental neglect. Parents allowing their children to eat food with high carbohydrates, sugars and sodium can lead to weight gain and eventually obesity. If weight is not controlled at a young age medical conditions as an adult become more of a problem. The government should pass a law requiring all parents with school age children, regardless of age, to attend and successfully complete with a passing score classes or workshops on health, nutrition and the long terms effects of childhood obesity. Parents should attend these classes through a local college, from a health care professional in their local community, for example WIC (Woman, Infant and Children) or online. Students are required in school to take health classes but more focus needs to be on nutrition and the long term effects on their health if they don??™t live a healthy lifestyle.
School boards are receiving mixed messages about physical education. On the one hand, government organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all schools require physical education for all students from kindergarten through twelfth grade on a daily basis. On the other hand, the predominant conclusion emerging from research studies is that typical PE programs are substandard and of limited value (Datar & Sturm, 2004).
Passing a law that would require parents to attend these classes will not only benefits their children but give the parents a better understanding on how certain foods interact with the body. Eating the right foods and being physically active is important to maintaining a healthy weight. This behavior needs to be the way of life for the entire family not just overweight children.
The Institute of Medicine recommends parents promote healthful eating behaviors and regular physical activity for their children, emphasizing the importance of family involvement in shaping childrens dietary and activity practices. Targeting parents to improve childrens dietary and physical activity behaviors is necessary for prevention and treatment of children who are overweight and is considered a feasible strategy, given that parents are mostly responsible for food choices and can influence the eating patterns and food intake of their children, especially during childhood (Slusser, Prelip, Kinsler, Erausquin, Thai and Neumann, 2011).
Taking these nutritional courses will provide parents with the knowledge needed to make the best decisions for their children. ???In order for parents to impact their childrens food behaviors and attitudes, parents need among many tools the knowledge about healthy foods, resources to support them in their nutrition education and the skills to purchase healthy foods and prepare them in a healthy manner. Nutrition education alone has been found to accomplish limited positive changes in parent nutrition behaviors??? (Slusser et al. (2011). If parents cannot seem to get away from home to attend face to face classes, then they always of the choice to attend online classes. Online classes may be a little easier to work into your daily schedule but you should make sure that it is a course that provides you with the information concerning the health and nutritional benefits to raising school age children. The Woman, Infant and Children??™s website offers a lot of literatures that will help parents make the best food choice for their children.
Nutrition education is the program benefit that sets WIC apart from the other Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) nutrition assistance programs. The WIC Program is the only FNS nutrition assistance program with legislative and regulatory requirements to provide nutrition education to participants, as specified in sections 17(b)(7), 17(f)(1)(C)(x), and 17(j) of the Child Nutrition Act of 1966, as amended, and the Federal WIC regulations in sections 246.2 and 246.11. Federal regulations require that WIC nutrition education be a benefit that is available at no cost to participants, be easily understood by participants, bear a practical relationship to the participant??™s nutritional needs, household situation and cultural preferences, and be designed to achieve the regulatory nutrition education goals (Wic program nutrition,” 2006).
Teachers play a key role is educating parents and children about healthy living. ???Teachers and other childhood professionals are key resource persons who can disseminate information to parents and encourage parents to adopt effective practices. It is a well-known fact that parenting styles set the environmental and emotional context for childrens development. Children experience high stress in the regimented eating environments of authoritarian parents and might resort to excessive eating as a coping mechanism. Not surprisingly, children of authoritarian parents have a high risk of overweight and obesity. Parents with authoritative parenting styles appear most helpful in creating a healthful eating environment for their children. These parents encourage self-regulation and place reasonable limits on childrens eating??? (Fiese & Schwartz, 2008; Rhee, 2008; Suzanne, 2009). Making a child eat when they are not hungry is just as detrimental as to not giving a child enough food. Parents need to listen to their children when they say are no longer hungry and let me be done eating instead of forcing them to eat when they are not hungry. Learning portion control can help parents ensure they that are feeding their children the right amount of good foods from each of the food groups to keep a balanced diet.
Education for parents plays a significant part in raising children to be healthy and ultimately live a longer life. According to Suzanne Winters ???the relationship between parenting styles and childhood obesity has important implications for teachers and all childhood professionals.??? Teachers need to support whatever parenting style to model effective interaction styles with children. Children spend more time at school then they do at home and teachers are just as big of an influence as their own parents are.
With parents not having the education and knowledge of health and nutrition can lead to greater health risk for their children later in life. Research has proved that obese children are at a greater risk of developing type II diabetes at a young age because they are overweight. ???Obese children also have a higher prevalence of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. As the prevalence of childhood obesity increased between 1982 and 1994, the incidence of type 2 diabetes increased by nearly a factor of 10, according to one report from Cincinnati??? (Rocchini, 2002). Not only is diabetes a health risk that can be eliminated by a healthy lifestyle but cardiovascular disease is another risk that can be managed by living healthy. Eating a healthy diet helps you maintain your cholesterol levels. ???The study found that over the two-year span, as children gained weight, their total cholesterol and triglycerides increased, while their HDL (good) cholesterol decreased, adding to their risk for developing cardiovascular diseases. Fasting glucose and insulin levels also became greater with weight gain, both risk factors for type 2 diabetes??? (Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, pg 76(7), 2005).
Childhood obesity can controlled if the government would pass a law requiring parents of school age children to take courses or workshops that focus on health and nutrition. There are many programs available to parents to learn the importance of living and raising their children to be healthy. WIC has free programs available to low-income families and gives parents the right tools to ensure their children are eating the right amount of each food group. Parents do not have to spend a lot of money to get educated, but if a law is not passed mandating this to happen, the United States will continue to be looked at as obese country versus a fit country. To make parents realize what they are doing to their children by allowing them to live and eat the way they want must start with the government enforcing parents to get educated on health and nutrition which in the long run will help their children live a longer life.

Childhood obesity and early onset of adult diseases. (2005). Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 76(7), 4-4,14. Retrieved from
Fiese, B. H, & Schwartz, M. (2008). Reclaiming the family table: Mealtimes and child health and wellbeing. Social Policy Report, 22(4), 1-18.
Rocchini, A. P. (2002). Editorials: Childhood obesity and a diabetes epidemic. The New England Journal of Medicine, 346(11), 854-5. Retrieved from
Slusser, W., Prelip, M., Kinsler, J., Erausquin, J. T., Thai, C., & Neumann, C. (2011). Challenges to parent nutrition education: A qualitative study of parents of urban children attending low-income schools. Public Health Nutrition, 14(10), 1833-41. doi:
Suzanne, M. W. (2009). Obesity prevention: Parenting styles make a difference. Childhood Education, 85(5), 1-306C. Retrieved from
Wic program nutrition education guidance. (2006, January). Retrieved from
Datar, A., & Sturm, R. (2004). Physical education in elementary school and body mass index: evidence from the early childhood longitudinal study. Retrieved from