With the rate of child obesity having almost tripled since 1980, America has more than earned yet another title: “The Fatter Nation.” Surprisingly enough, many health surveys consider obesity a bigger health crisis than smoking and drug abuse. Childhood obesity has become one of the top concerns among American parents today. Their concern is justified since obesity is the root of numerous health risks, like asthma, diabetes, high blood pressure, spikes in cholesterol levels, and even cancer. Overweight children are often bullied and are not fit to take part in any physical activity, thereby developing inferiority complexes, depression, and a sense of loneliness.
A dire consequence of child obesity was articulated by the former U.S Surgeon General, Richard Carmona. He said, “Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”
This simply points to how challenging the problem of child obesity has become in the USA. But the epidemic can be reversed by the efforts of parents, schools, and the government.
Role of Parents:
Charity begins at home, and so does fighting this epidemic! Parents should take unexplained weight gain by their children seriously. Making some changes in lifestyle and food will enable your children to achieve and maintain healthy weight. Encourage them to eat healthy while limiting their consumption of junk food. Help them to do daily exercises to burn the extra calories, and motivate them to join sports or fitness activities at school. These small steps are really helpful in preventing your children from putting on unhealthy weight.
Role of Schools:
After home, school is the place where a child spends the major part of the day, with over 90% of the young population enrolled in school. Therefore, schools can play an important role in improving health and preventing childhood obesity at the ideal point in time—before the problem worsens. Sports and fitness activities have always been a part of the American education system. However, there is a strong need to add nutrition and physical activity lessons to curriculum to teach students about healthy lifestyles.
Beyond that, schools must add healthier food in the cafeteria while limiting the availability of unhealthy food. The physical education staff must also give private attention to overweight children.
Role of Government:
We need more awareness like Let’s Move to tackle childhood obesity and keep our kids healthy and fit. According to US News, the government should increase farm subsidies so that farmers can plant more fruits and vegetables, keeping them affordable for every American family. It further stated that there should be more trails, sidewalks, and parks in this country.
Yes, child obesity has become an epidemic in this nation, but with some effort and initiative, it can be curbed. From family to government, everyone must contribute to save our children from weight problems. Yes, We Can!