Childhood Obesity Is Increasing
Ending Childhood Obesity in Kids
Childhood obesity is an epidemic worldwide with junk food, sugary drinks, and fast food among the biggest reasons why kids are obese, having an impact on a child's physical and mental health (Sahoo et al.). 1 out of every 5 children and adolescents are affected due to the environments they live and go to school in, lack of healthy nutrition access, unsafe areas to play in and more (CDC).
Increase Physical Activity for Kids
Kids spend more time indoors than outdoors due to video games, tablets, smart phones, and learn negative physical activity and nutritious behaviors from caregivers and parents (Cleveland Clinic). Obese children carry the disease into adulthood which is the world's leading cause of premature death and poor health (World Obesity). The cycle continues when they have children, and the kids follow the same pattern.
Parents Should Control What Kids Eat
Parents should take more control over what their kids eat (The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry). This will eliminate much of the obesity in kids around the world. Kids will grow into adulthood liking healthy food, more used to a healthy diet instead of an unhealthy one.
Racial Advertising Targeting Young Blacks and Hispanics
Governments need to set up more programs for the education and allowance of healthy nutrition, especially in the inner cities. Most of the advertising relates to unhealthy nutrition and caters to young children, especially minorities. From 2017 - 2021 targeted advertising of unhealthy foods to Hispanics and blacks were up about one-half for sugary drinks, candy, and snacks with more black youth viewing 9%-21% more food advertising than whites as of 2021. Does this mean businesses are more interested in making money than a child's health?
The fast-food industry spent 5 billion in advertising in 2019 with many of the ads directly marketed to children of all races under 12, and targeting black preschoolers, children, and teens 75% more than white kids (Harris et al.).
Fighting Obesity in Children
A series of actions from international governments, national governments, and local communities highlighted the results from the first ever International Conference on Health Promotion in 1986 with a goal of "Health For All" by the year 2000. The problem of obesity is still here and the battle for "Health For All" is a losing one. Obesity grew from 5.0% among adolescents between 12-19 to 18.1% in 2000 (Chou et al.). Instead of declining, the numbers grew during this positive initiative.
A review in 2019 concluded few regulations exist to reduce food marketing to children even though it is an important strategy to prevent childhood obesity (Tallie et al.). If governments increase regulations for marketing food to children, the numbers of obese children inside their respective countries will decrease.
Kids and parents are losing the battle for overweight children. It should be an easy fight to win because healthy and nutritious food are tasty and actually fight off obesity instead of accumulating the fat from unhealthy food.
Why aren't parents made aware of how serious this issue is?
Sahoo, Krushnapriya, et al. “Childhood Obesity: Causes and Consequences.” Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care, vol. 4, no. 2, 2015, p. 187, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4408699/, 10.4103/2249-4863.154628.
CDC. “Childhood Overweight and Obesity.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30 Aug. 2021, www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html.
Cleveland Clinic. “Obesity in Children | Cleveland Clinic.” Cleveland Clinic, 2018, my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9467-obesity-in-children.
World Obesity. “Childhood Obesity.” World Obesity Federation, 2019, www.worldobesity.org/what-we-do/our-policy-priorities/childhood-obesity.
The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. “Obesity in Children and Teens.” Aacap.org, Apr. 2017, www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/FFF-Guide/Obesity-In-Children-And-Teens-079.aspx.
Taillie, Lindsey Smith, et al. “Governmental Policies to Reduce Unhealthy Food Marketing to Children.” Nutrition Reviews, vol. 77, no. 11, 1 Nov. 2019, pp. 787–816, academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/77/11/787/5536919?redirectedFrom=fulltext, 10.1093/nutrit/nuz021.
Chou, Shin‐Yi, et al. “Fast‐Food Restaurant Advertising on Television and Its Influence on Childhood Obesity.” The Journal of Law and Economics, vol. 51, no. 4, Nov. 2008, pp. 599–618, www.nber.org/papers/w18640.pdf, 10.1086/590132.
Harris, Jennifer, et al. Fast Food Advertising: Billions in Spending, Continued High Exposure by Youth FAST FOOD. June 2021.