Obesity: The Parents to Blame

October 3, 2011
By Anonymous

Our society rapidly continues to spring forward in development on a daily basis. These changes, although altering some lives for the better, serve as a hindrance for other lives too. An effect of these major shifts, which faces the health of humans every day, is the life-threatening struggle of obesity. Who or what is to blame for this health condition, which involves significantly the children of our modern society? One of the most influential factors on children is the parents or guardians that surround them continually. Parents are the leading cause of obesity because of the poor food choices and lack of physical activity they allow their own children to acquire.

Obesity, a condition in humans that has tripled over the past 30 years, arrives when a person consumes more calories than he or she burns, and this happens for a long time. Depending on genetics, some people can become obese easier than others can, yet some people can lose weight easier than others can. Obesity is less of a struggle during the childhood years, when habits are easier to change for the future. However, if obesity is an ongoing problem with a child by the age of eight, the health condition is more likely to be severe when he or she is an adult. About 80 percent of people who are overweight between the ages of 10 and 15 become obese by the time they are 25 years old, which shows that obesity is a serious problem among a populous amount of adolescent people. Less than one-third of students actually meet the recommended amount of additional physical activity outside of the required physical education classes, and even some gym classes barely require students to participate at all. Just by being surrounded with a variety of people every day, it is apparent how common and how important of an issue obesity is. These statistics only reveal a partiality of the influences of obesity, but the main figures to blame are the parents of obese children (Barbour).

Our environment provides a variety of food choices for children, but it is the parents who need to select and promote healthy eating habits. One of the main factors that lead to obesity is the convenient, inexpensive, high-calorie foods that many parents depend on for their children’s meals. Parents tend to look for the “best value,” whether that means purchasing cheap, fatty foods at fast food restaurants or purchasing large quantities of foods on sale at the grocery stores. The food portions we have today force a lifestyle of abundant calorie and fat intake on young people who are just starting to balance healthy eating habits. Parents need to realize the excessive food portions they are allowing their children consume, and they need to persuade them to cut back on unnecessary amounts. One of the most effective ways parents can alter this is to limit their own food choices and sizes, so that they serve as an example for their children. When there are a variety of vegetables, fruits, and whole grains available, it is the parents’ responsibilities to recognize that these natural foods are easily accessible for their children, and they need to purchase these foods for their families more often. These natural foods contain barely any fat, which is the nutrient that holds the most calories per gram (Hill). More attention and effort towards healthy food choices is critical in order for parents to lessen the chance of obesity in their children.

The lack of childhood physical activity lies on the shoulders of the parents, and a limited amount of physical activity is one of the direct factors that lead to obesity. Young humans spend more time playing on electronic devices than they do participating in physical activity because of all the new advances in game systems, in computers, in iPods, and in televisions (Hill). Overtime, studies have found a positive relation between the amount of time spent on media and the rate of obesity in people between the ages of 8 and 18 (Barbour). Parents allow their children too much time in front of the television, which has constant advertisements of food or leisure activities. Instead, helping involve children in a type of workout is more beneficial. Parents who constantly purchase electronics and even poor food choices for their children are simply forcing their own children to become overweight, obese, or follow unhealthy habits. Many children view their parents as role models. Those who continually surround themselves in unhealthy physical activity habits seem to teach their children to do the same, whether they realize it or not. A way for parents to increase the amount of physical activity their children participate in is to spend family gatherings doing something active, such as a family volleyball game, rather than a huge family dinner. Parents who provide an interesting or challenging activity are more likely to engage their children in being active (Hill). Parent involvement in physical activity leads children to create a path more towards a lasting healthy lifestyle, rather than a path towards an obese lifestyle.

The unhealthy food choices and lack of physical activity influenced by parents promote high, dangerous risks of obesity in children. Parents play a major role in the development of a child’s learning; they create the map of their own personal habits, and their children follow the trail in their footsteps. With more and more people at the risk of obesity, the chance of decreasing this serious health problem is minimal. Instead of blaming the promotion of fatty foods and low physical activity levels on our society, parents must learn to limit these for the health of their own children. Would you want your child’s health to take a chance in the hardships of obesity because of the poor choices you select for him or her?

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