America's Growing Problem

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC states that childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past thirty years. Among children ages 6-11, there was a 6.5% rate of obesity in 1980 which increased to 18.6% by 2008(CDC). Our kids are fatter and more unhealthy now than ever before and more than half will remain obese throughout their adult years. American is the second fattest country in the world. It is not hard to see why, we over indulge on fast food and sugary drinks, our energy levels are down do to our demanding lifestyles which means less time for exercise. The American Adult obesity weight sits at a staggering 31.8% (Adult Obesity Facts). I think with just a few changes that number can come down for both kids and adults.

How did America’s kids get to this point? The past thirty years kids went throughout a drastic change on how their day played out. Kids used to walk to school every day, play outside at recess, and play for hours after school, riding bikes, playing hide and go seek, or just hanging out with friends outside. Today children experience a very different lifestyle, most kids take the bus or are driven to school. Physical Education classes and after school sports are being cut across America in the wake of budget cuts and federal pressure to raise test scores in math and reading. After school time with friends has been replaced by TV, video games, social media and the internet. We’ve also become a busier society, parents are cooking fewer home-cooked meals and instead turning to fast food and frozen dinners.

The health effects as a result of being obese are staggering. Obese individuals are at high risk to suffer from cardiovascular diseases, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Pre-di...

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... mom playing on an iPad. Children 8-18 years old spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media, including TV, computers, video games, cell phones and movies.

If you combine all these factors it is no surprise to see childhood obesity continue to rise. Our kids have become stagnate. We no longer encourage physical activities in our schools, in the home or outside the home. We feed them highly processed junk food because its easy to prepare and gets to the dinner table quickly. In order to change the direction we are head we need to pay attention to our kids. Parents have to be more involved in their kids lives, encourage them by preparing a healthier lunches and dinners. Encourage them to join extra-circular activities and limiting time using entertainment technology. It’s little step like these that can make a difference in the health of our kids.
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