Childhood obesity is a complicated health problem. It happens when a child’s weight is over the normal or healthy weight in his or her height and age. Actually, the causes are similar to adult obesity. It includes the individual causes just like behavior and genetics. For behavior, it can be because of dietary patterns, inactivity, physical activity, medication use, etc. There are more causes which emerge from the society. There is a link between fast food and childhood obesity. They are the food and physical activity, skills and education, food marketing and promotion and the common causes is fast food.
The examples of healthy behaviors are regular physical activity and healthy diet pattern. The use of energy which balances with the calories consumptions from food and beverages can prevent the weight gain. The number of calories and the activities is the main role of preventing obesity. There is a guideline for a healthy diet pattern. In the guideline, you can see some food and beverages that should be eaten such as whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein, fat free dairy products, low fat and water. Some experts suggest that children should do about 60 minutes of physical activity in a day. Having both of healthy diet pattern and also physical activity regularly are important for the long term health. Those also prevent serious disease like heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
The society, nowadays, are characterizes by the environment which support the high consumption of less healthy food and physical inactivity. It makes harder for children to get healthy food options. They also find difficulties in getting physical activity because of the environment like their home, school, child care center or even community don’t support it.
The numbers of advertisement about less healthy foods are spreading. Almost half of middle and high schools tolerate with less healthy food advertisement. The effect is that student is not able to choose the healthy food. Moreover, the foods in advertisement are high calories, salt, sugars, and fat. Of course they have low nutrients. The advertisements are directed to children and adolescent in all market. In contrary, there are no healthier foods being in the advertisement.
More than 13 million children don’t spend their time at home. Most of their times are spent in the school or child care center. It has hard for family to control their meals. However, the government should regulate such license to ensure the facilities in school and child care center. The basic license is that making sure children get healthy foods and do physical activity regularly.
As children need to move and do physical activity, they don’t have place to do it. Even many communities build some places which are not safe for doing physical activity actively. There are no places in the neighborhood which can be place for children to play and run. For some families, go to the park and have recreation center may be hard. There is no public transportation as well. Half of children don’t have park, sidewalk or community center in the neighborhood. Perhaps, there is some kind of that place, but when it is far away, parents will not allow. It’s dangerous for children to go alone far from their home.
The access for people to get healthy yet affordable foods is limited. People tend to have difficulties to get to the stores which sell healthy and affordable food just like vegetables and fruits. It is mostly happened in minority, rural and lower income environments. The healthy foods in the supermarket are related to the reduction of obesity. Choosing healthy food is hard for parents who live in a place where there are so many food retailers. They sell mostly unhealthy food just like fast food restaurants and convenience stores.
The availability of high energy foods and sugar sweetened beverages is another cause of obesity in childhood. High energy foods have many calories in a bite. Most recent study showed that children who consume high energy foods have higher risk of obesity. That kind of food can excess body fat in childhood. Sugar sweetened beverages are biggest source of sugar and it contribute the risk of children obesity as well. High consumption of this beverage with few nutrients is related to obesity. Normally, in a day there are 80% youth drink this beverage.
Big portion of unhealthy foods and beverages have spread in all restaurants, groceries and vending machines. Children don’t realize that they eat more portions. Some children may choose the large portions when they come to their favorite foods. This means they consume extra calories. Moreover, for sure, this will lead to obesity.
Breastfeeding protect the childhood obesity. It is such sad things when babies don’t get enough breastfeeding. There are 75% of mothers who begin breastfeeding but only 13% of babies which are exclusively breastfed. The success of breastfeeding is not really satisfying. The breastfeeding can be enhanced by the support of family, friend, health care and many others.
Fast Food Linked To Child Obesity
In a day, there is at least one of three children around age 4 to 19 who eat fast food. The fast food contains six more pounds each child. This case increases the risk of obesity. About more than 6 thousand cases of child obesity found in a year. The raising of the child obesity because of fast food began since 1970. This happen in all child whether they are boy and girl and all different socio-economic as well.
Fast food lovers eat more fats, carbo, and sugars. They consumed less fruits and vegetables. They get almost 187 daily calories in a day, which mostly add more 6 pounds in a year. This obesity epidemic should be concerned by the government. The government has the big role in making such policy that the fast food should have the license. The license is about the regulations of using healthy foods in their product. Here, the link between fast food and childhood obesity. Parents should be more careful in protecting or at least reducing the fast food consumption. Moreover, the limit of soft drinks and snacks at school should be more protected by parents and teachers.