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Monday, September 6, 2010

The epidemy of our century a.k.a childhood obesity

Child obesity is one of world’s leading problems. Nowadays more and more children suffer from diseases that are typical for adults- diabetes, high blood pressure, heart diseases and etc.

Obesity is a metabolic disturbance with chronicle character which is a result from complicated interactions between genetics, hormonal balance and the surrounding environment. Obesity is most commonly caused by a combination of excessive dietary calories, lack of physical activity, and genetic susceptibility, although a few cases are caused primarily by genes, endocrine disorders, medications or psychiatric illness.

During the past half century the calories eaten by people are dramatically getting higher, and the change in the eating habits of the population is not just in a matter of quantity but also in quality. Another external factor influencing the low physical activity is caused by economy and industrialization which have led to the minimum the need to be physically active. In the past our ancestors received awards for being physically active and today we are forced to pay in order to be involved in sports.

But where is hidden the problem with our kids “growing wider”? Is it in the family,school, the social environment or somewhere else?

Let’s first look the family. The example that parents give to their kids play an important role in children’s life. It pretty much builds children’s habits and views for life. According to a study 75% of children that have overweight parents are also “cursed” to inherit their shape. You will say “Sure, it is the genes!”. But is it actually true?Does it always have to be the genes that take all the blame. Or is there other reasons that we try not to see in the desire to find an excuse? Every morning you stop at Dunkin Donuts, try all their donuts, brownies, new drinks full of cream and sugar. For lunch you grab some pizza and ice cream and on your way back home you go to KFC and you buy the delicious ,crispy, chicken wings and the only healthy thing in your food is the leaf of lettuce in your McDonald’s sandwich you had over a talk with your friend…how could you expect your child to be dying to eat fruits, vegetables, nuts and meat? Did you forget you were his role model?

Do we want our children to have a better life and feel healthy?...if the answer is yes we should first change ourselves and the way we influence them will be different.
Another reason that is a main factor for children obesity and is again coming from the family are parents relations. There are evidences that most of the children try to hide some emotional emptiness by eating….and I mean binge eating!

There is a study in which they asked some overweight children what is the reason to eat so much…and the most common answer was that they found comfort in food when they had some bad emotions in their life. So again it is up to the parents! Take your time and think if you are giving your child the love and attention it deserves? Maybe in your family there are a lot of fights that are hurting your child and he/she finds salvation in food. When I say attention I do not mean grabbing a happy meal on your way home and giving it to your child thinking that you have compensated for your absence. Your children do not need your presents…they do not make them happy! The NEED YOU!

The other place where we should search the fault for obesity is at school. Our children spend a lot of time there and have most of their daily meals there. Is the food they have at school healthy and does it give them the proper nutrition? I think that all of you will agree that it doesn’t! It should be paid more attention to the food children eat at school. I read about that small town in the USA where people decided to make the first step towards healthy lifestyle. They made up that S.O.S program (Save Our Schools). It concentrates on kids having balanced and nutritionally dense foods at school, they even grow their own vegetables in the school yard and after that prepare their own food.

Another problem at school are the P.E. classes. Before when I hear about P.E. my first association was sport. Now…it is more like let’s have some leisure time to sit around and chat. I heard about a teacher that punished kids, when somebody made something wrong. And the punishment was “No P.E. class for all the students”. Could a normal person punish all the kids to stay in the dusty classroom just because Ivan took Maria’s pencil? I think that we should definitely think more about our children’s health and instead of limiting their physical activity we should motivate them to move more!

And remember that your kids ain’t fat because thei ain’t moving…they ain’t moving because they are fat!!

Next reason for obesity is the MEDIA! The tendency, about animated heroes being exploit like commercial models of the newest food masterpieces of the fast food restaurants, is growing every day. In a study they gave children hamburgers, fries and carrots. Some of them were packed in a simple wrapping and others were packed in wraps with the face of a movie hero. The result was that about 80% of the kids said that the carrot in the “colored” wrapping tasted better than the one in the simple wrapping. What that means is that it is really simple to manipulate children by “accidently” forming their needs and desires.

The causes of obesity could be found in hundreds places but we should start the transformation from somewhere. In the world there are about 45million children at the age from 1-5 that are obese and the tendency is for this number to get higher. Do you want this to be our children’s future? To be food slaves? Let all of us try to lead healthier life and hope that our kids will be our fellow- travellers in this journey.

1 comment:

Okuma said...

The argument that links fast food to obesity remain unanswered. Though one reason why people crave to eat more is because of the chemical flavoring (preservatives) that contains in the food. Rapid weight loss cannot be achieve by just avoiding fast food meals but preparing it fresh is better rather than taking an order in a resto.