Obesity among children has become one of the greatest health challenges in the world. Childhood obesity occurs when children have excess body fat in relation to their body index as a result of the adoption of unhealthy eating behavior at an early age, making them clinically unhealthy. Numerous studies such as by the CDC estimate that one five school children in the U.S are obese amounting to about 15 percent of the population. Numerous causes have been identified as major contributors to childhood obesity.
Consumption of unhealthy foods is the primary reason precipitating obesity in children. Research in the United States documents that most children feed on fast foods, processed junk foods and vending machine snacks, candy, baked wheat products and fruit juices that contain high amounts of sugars and calories with minimal or no nutrients whatsoever that they feed on them in excess. Thus, their bodies absorb excess calories and fat that are stored resulting in them becoming obese.
Lack of regulation in the food industries contributes to childhood obesity. Many manufacturers process their foods stuff, majoring on increasing their sales as opposed to promoting the health of the consumers. Most of them have penetrated the school systems in the U.S. where they have filled it with unhealthy foods for the children thereby increasing the development of unhealthy eating habits.
Television and advertising companies have been linked to childhood obesity. Advertisers spend on average two billion dollars in the U.S each year marketing foods to children. The majority of the foods advertised are unhealthy foods containing calories, sugar, and sodium that bombard children every time they watch televisions. Such advertisements are aired during children’s shows at daytime while others are incorporated in children cartoons. Consequently, children influence their parents to buy these unhealthy foods thereby increasing the consumption of unhealthy foods.
Lack of physical exercise is another contributor to childhood obesity. In the past children’s enjoyment and fun activities included walking, sports and other outdoor activities that elicited physical exercise. However, with the onset of computer games, the internet, chatting, television, and radios, children have adopted sedentary lifestyles where they spend most of their time in front of various electronic devices. Moreover, fewer children walk to school or engaged in sporting activities thereby increasing their chances of obesity.
Despite the above-listed causes, various institutions have brought on opposition. Food and advertising companies making junk and fast foods argue that advertising of foods to children does not lead to childhood obesity. According to them, obesity in children results due to lack of self-control and discipline among parents and children whereby parents fail to control their children’s intake of these foods and permit them to feed on as much as they want. However, fast foods and processed foods, whether taken in moderation or not, contain harmful substances that are unhealthy.
Food services executives argue that the government has no right whatsoever to introduce regulations that impact the lives of the people. According to them, dictating the types of foods that people should eat violates their right to freedom and choice particularly in schools. Thus, individuals particularly children should be allowed to consume the foods they want. I disagree because many children do not have the knowledge on the dangers of consuming various foods or self-control over them, thus regulations are vital.
In conclusion, various aspects in our society such as advertisements, the food consumed, food regulations and physical exercises should be enforced and observed and not opposed. Arguing that lack of discipline and need for freedom to consume unhealthy foods are misguided arguments that should be done away.
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