Modern society suffers from a great variety of diseases that are caused by food. Unfortunately obesity is among them. Childhood obesity is considered a global disease that is rapidly spreading around the world. That`s why governments of different countries are working on the prevention programs to solve this urgent problem. In general the main problem is that people don`t worry so much about the food they are eating. Everyone usually just enjoy his life and don`t think about the question “To what consequences our food may lead?”. Although food gives us all the nutriments and vitamins we need for a healthy life, it may change our life considerably.
Overweight and obesity indicate the excess weight that a normal and healthy person should have. A lot of parents are worried about the weight of their kid and often ask the same question “How to know the right weight of my child?”. That question seems to be a simple one, but it is rather complicated to answer. Every child has a different body type and so you cannot give a one-type-fits-all weight that parents need to think of as desirable. Kids with the same height and age may be different in the amount of muscle tissue they have. It is important to keep in mind that children develop and grow in different pace.
Obesity usually begins in childhood, between the age of 6 and 7. Obesity is a body mass index or, in other words, excess body fat (Davis 53). Others define obesity in children as body weight which is at least 20% higher than a healthy weight for a child of that height. But it depends on the sex. For example, in boys it can be a body fat percentage above 25% or above 32% in girls. The scientists have noticed that obesity more affects “children of higher classes and belonging to affluent and higher socioeconomic group families” (Vohra 61).
Obesity is a common disease with profound disturbances of metabolism. The basis of obesity is a metabolic disease. Usually obesity is a result of eating too much, but sometimes it may result from hormonal disorders. From year to year the amount of people who suffer from excess of fat is increasing. As for children, the number of those who suffer from obesity doubles every three decades. We all know that sound nutrition for a pupil is a guaranty that he/she will develop properly, get a necessary doze of microelements and vitamins, so he/she will show good results of intellection and progress in studies. Children of primary school should have a strict daily regime which includes regular intakes of food. A child should eat no less than four times per day. But if dietary habits are not regular, the production of gastric juice may disrupt the functioning of the digestive system and metabolism, which will subsequently induce gastritis or ulcer. But food must be not only regular but also safe.
In many cases such disease as obesity may arise from the disturbing dietary habits if the meal consists of a great amount of sweets, bakery or fast food products. Today obesity occurs in every fifth child. This sad statistic is formed by the parents as the child is either forced to eat in large quantities, or simply allowed to do it in his/her own. The more a child eats, the more it expands the stomach which in time begins to demand more food for saturation. Obesity in primary school children appears because of lack of domestic control. A child enters the world of independent decisions too early. For example, a muffin eaten every day in the break between the lessons, giving the breakfast up and prefer hot dogs or any other snack will provoke obesity.
Everyone can notice the tendency of the growing number of children eating more and more away from home. Today fast-food is a choice number one. The scientists have agreed that fast food is the main reason that significantly increases caloric consumption per meal. Unfortunately we don`t have enough will to withstand the advertisements about tasty and appetizing hot dogs, sandwiches, fried potatoes, chips and many other fast-foods. The targets of those advertisements are usually children. As a reaction to the sad statistics several countries like the United Kingdom and the USA began the procedure of banning the advertisements of fast food for children (Dhar 799). These foods are very easy to acquire but it is difficult to get rid of the weight and return to a normal state.
Several analyses resulted that for genetic risk factors of childhood overweight, stronger associations in children with higher levels of BMI and fat mass were observed (Beyerlein 4). It means that a child whose parents are obese is likely to become obese as well.
As to the leisure time of the kids, children prefer staying at home, playing video games and sitting in front of a TV screen. That`s why our kids move less while physical activity is needed to burn calories. Also there is a tendency among parents against staying at home with their children. Our modern parents are so busy that they`d better let their infant gain weight and leave them alone than be occupied with them, taking trips or doing sports.
Childhood obesity can have a harmful effect on the body in a variety of ways. Children with overweight more often have high blood pressure and high cholesterol that are known to be as major factors for cardiovascular disease. As the result of obesity may appear such problems as vision problems, osteoarthritis, gall bladder disease and some sex hormone sensitive cancer (Vohra 59). Obesity may cause a lot of mental disorders as well.
Treatment and prevention
The most important thing is to slow down or stop weight gain. Sometimes it takes months or even years to achieve this goal. However scientists assert that preventive measures must be taken starting from the period when a child is in the mom`s stomach because if the mother eats excessively, the child and she herself are gaining weight. Obesity is treated by severe diets and limitation of nourishment habits. It is important to consult a doctor before starting the diet. It must be remembered that each day a child should get a certain amount of proteins, carbohydrates and fats. The main point is that the doctor control amount of food. A good professional will make a special scheme. It will describe what needs to be done and how much you should be losing every week. It is very important to follow this scheme and not ignore it. A succession and regularity are the means of treatment.
The food must be chosen rather carefully while the diet must be quiet nutritious and healthy. It is effective to eat slowly as it will result in the feeling of fullness. Usually the diet is based on the consuming usual products but keep a balanced amount of calories. Thus the meal consists of low-calorie foods such as fish, chicken meat or lean meat. Nutritionists recommend eating brown bread rather than white bread. Vegetable soup may be a good substitute of one the main dishes. Whatever diet you choose, it should contain fruits, vegetables and low-fat products; however, snacks and sweets may be included if they are eaten occasionally and in moderation. Sodas must be replaced by fresh juices and cold water.
First thing that parents should do is to make their children spend less time in front of the television. Children can choose the physical activity that they like and enjoy: tennis, basketball, running or swimming. Whatever the sport, it must not make the child exhausted. The activity must last for about 60 minutes every day but the main point is to continue this activity from day to day.
Obesity is also a moral problem. Children feel unsafe when their friends are laughing at them for all the time. The reason is overweight. This may even lead to the social isolation while born in the same year will soon stop communicating with an obese child. That`s why there is another main point that cannot be missed – parental support. For each child the best example is their parent. So it is useful for parents to support their children by visiting the gym together or running each morning. It is so important for kids to see that someone understands them. Kids need just someone to realize the problem and to find the ways of solving it.
Obesity is a disease but we can prevent it. Parents play a very important role in the child’s life. Adults are those who influent the kids. Children are too young to control their wishes and understand what it means to be healthy. They cannot define what food is harmful and why one should avoid it. Usually they just choose what is tasty. That is why parents are those who must control the weight of their children.. The earlier parents begin control over their kids the better results they can achieve.
1.Beyerlein Andreas “Denetic Narkers of Obesity Risk: Stronger Associations with Body Composition in Overweight Compared to Normal-Weight Children”. PLoS One 6.4: 1-4. Web. 15 Apr. 2011.
2. Vohra Rajaat “Overweight and obesity among school – going children of Lucknow city”. Journal of Family & Community Medicine 18.2: 59-62. Web. 1 Aug. 2011.
3. Dhar Tirtha “Fast-Food Consumption and the Ban on Advertising Targeting Children: The Quebec Experience”. Journal of Marketing Research XLVIII: 799-813. Web. 1 Oct 2011
4. Davis Melvin “Parental Depression, Family Functioning, and Obesity Among African Children”. ABNF Journal: 53-57. Web. 1 Jul. 2011