Dealing with Child Obesity
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Causes of Childhood Obesity

September 1, 2015 by Lane Rogers | Filed under Solutions To Childhood Obesity, What Is Child Obesity.

With double the number of young people considered to be obese today than 30 years ago, it is easy to see that childhood obesity is fast becoming a major epidemic across the country. More and more children have expanding waistlines, are targets for bullying, and find themselves suffering from related health conditions, even including type 2 diabetes which was previously only found in adults. With ever-increasing numbers of kids getting bigger and bigger, experts are now being forced to look into the causes of childhood obesity with the hope of being able to control the situation.

Evidence has shown that there is no one single cause of childhood obesity. Instead, there are multiple complex factors, both behavioral and social, that impact on a child’s propensity to gain weight. So what are the causes of childhood obesity?

Behavior Factors
If we simplify matters, obesity is caused by consuming too many calories and doing too little exercise. Basically, if we eat more calories than we need on a daily basis, we are going to get bigger and bigger. Obese children are making unhealthy food choices and living too sedentary a lifestyle. Of course, often children don’t make these sorts of decisions on their own but rely on their families and parents to make food choices for them. If parents traditionally live an unhealthy lifestyle, children will continue to live according to that pattern, meaning that obesity is passed down the generations. It is important for parents to help teach children which foods are good for them and which should be avoided, and to encourage them to take regular exercise. If children survive on a diet of fast food, candy, and sugary snacks while lying on the sofa instead of running around and playing sports, it is fairly obvious that they are going to put on weight.

Advertisements
Billboards, the Internet and TV advertisements are constantly promoting unhealthy foods. From candy bars to potato chips, our kids are bombarded on a daily basis with images of delicious but calorific snacks. When was the last time you saw an advert for fruit and vegetables? No wonder children tend to gravitate to the snack products aisles when they go to the supermarket.

Afford-ability
Unfortunately, many families are living on limited incomes, and the types of food available at low cost in supermarkets today tend to be unhealthy, processed options. Fresh meat, whole grains, fruit and vegetables are all priced highly, so guess which products hard pressed families choose?

Nowhere To Play
In many communities, there is an appalling lack of provision for children to get outside and play safely. Transportation to sports fields, parks and recreation facilities may be limited, and many areas even lack sidewalks meaning that there is no safe way for children to even walk to school. When kids are driven everywhere and have no outlet to get out and exercise, it’s little wonder that they are getting bigger.

Portion Sizes
Without realizing it, portion sizes have increased over the last few years. A candy bar is bigger today than it was a decade ago. Fast food outlets give bigger portions, and restaurants load our plates with food. If food is presented in large quantities to our kids, then they are going to eat what they are served. After all, don’t we all nag our kids to finish what’s on their plate?

Tackling these causes of obesity is becoming a priority today as children who are obese have a much poorer quality of life than their thinner counterparts. Not only do they face bullying at school and difficulties in social situations, but they are being set up for a lifetime of ill health. Also, children who are obese today are the obese adults of tomorrow, breeding another generation of overweight kids. It’s time to tackle the causes of obesity before the situation spirals completely out of control.

 

By Lane Rogers


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