Is Childhood Obesity the New Epidemic??

America is known for being the second most obese country in the entire world. How does that sound as a selling point?

from google images

from google images

Hey, come to the U.S. where you can have freedom of religion, speech and… food? The sad reality is that obesity is starting to develop in not only adults, but young children and adolescents as well.

from google images

from google images

As a student athlete I am quite interested in leading a healthy lifestyle. When I came across this article, I became quite interested in what the author (Honor Whitefield) had to say about the unfortunate state of our youths’ health. Dr. Rani Whitfield, a spokesperson for the American Heart Association, told Medical News, “Childhood obesity is not a cosmetic issue or something the child will just grow out of. Obese children tend to become obese adults, and there are many medical issues associated with obesity. Children are now taking the same type of medications as their parents to manage blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol. This is frightening but true.” Her use of pathos, or appeal to emotion, sparks an emotional response from the reader. Most parents who read this article would immediately think of their own children and would contemplate their lifestyle and whether it is really healthy enough or not. This is one of the first sentences in the article, and it persuades the readers to become emotionally engaged in the reading. As for me, it caught my attention and made me want to keep reading the rest of what the author had to say.

The article also states, “Gone are the days when children would run around and play for hours after school. Now, they are more likely to engage in sedentary behaviors, such as watching TV, playing computer games or using social media. Children now spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using entertainment media.” Psychoanalysis states that there are different parts of a human being’s personality: the id, ego, super ego and unconscious. The id can be defined as “The personality component made up of unconscious psychic energy that works to satisfy basic urges, needs and desires.” So in this case, those desires are the sedentary behaviors and unhealthy foods being consumed by children these days. The ego

from google images

from google images

is simply what controls the id and the superego (is supposed to prevent us from acting on our urges caused by the id and achieve moral standards caused by the superego). In healthy children, the id, ego, and superego are all balanced. They get to fulfill their urges, but with moderation (I know that urges can mean many things, but in this case we are looking at those urges as being overeating). In America today, children seem to be getting themselves into bad habits and “overdoing their id.”

On a different note, while reading the article I saw that there were many health ads on the right hand side of my screen. There was an advertisement for Children’s Zyrtec, weight loss programs, and… Charlotte Russe. The Children’s Zyrtec made sense because the article was about, well, children’s health! The connection between the article talking about children’s health and a product that helps create children’s health was made and that is why the ad was placed on the same screen. The weight loss program ads were also a given- what parents wouldn’t click on a link that could assist in their children becoming healthy again, right? And lastly, the Charlotte Russe ad was a connection to me personally. I have online shopped with them before and my internet filter bubble came into play…I’m telling you they (whoever they are) are always watching and know exactly where you have been on the internet recently…

Sometimes we see celebrities or well-known people come into the spotlight with serious social issues. In this particular situation, the First Lady Michelle Obama has been extremely involved. She launched her program Let’s Move in 2010 to promote healthy living. The closing paragraph of the article I read stated her opinion on the matter: “In the end, as First Lady, this isn’t just a policy issue for me. This is a passion. This is my mission. I am determined to work with folks across

from google images

from google images

this country to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition.” (Well said!!) Over the last few years, Mrs. Michelle Obama has been on commercials, news reels, newspapers, and social media promoting healthy eating and healthy lifestyles. She has almost become the face of healthy living. With her being a minority (African American) and a woman, this has probably not been an easy task for her. Since her husband is the President of the United States however, she has gotten better treatment than just any regular person promoting the cause. Females in society who are able to make a difference are looked at highly because there is still discrimination among the sexes today. Women applaud Michelle Obama for her dedication to not only children’s health, but also to creating a positive image of females in society.

The most alarming thing that I read throughout this entire article was merely a statistic. “The prevalence of obesity in children aged 6-11 years increased from 7% in 1980 to 18% in 2012, while the percentage of obese adolescents aged 12-19 years soared from 5% to 21% in the same period.” This is not an opinion on the subject, but rather a sad fact. The youth of this country is becoming larger in body weight and will soon (with those kinds of statistics) be the majority of the population if something is not done in the near future. The availability of liquid calories found in sodas, milkshakes, and fruity juices and the vast variety of fast food and junk food advertisements have been a large factor in the way children perceive eating habits. Many children also fail to meet the sixty minutes of exercise that should be performed each and every day. Schools are trying to create healthier choices, but Dr. Whitfield has a different idea. “Schools play a very critical role in encouraging healthy behaviors in children. Many children spend a significant amount of time at school where both good and bad habits can develop. Physical activity and health education should be mandatory for those in kindergarten through high school.”

So as we can all see, childhood obesity is not a positive thing (duh). Something needs to be done to prevent the enlargement of the obese population…no pun intended. In order to become more aware of the social and medical issue of obesity, it is important for parents and their children to be aware of what they eat, make sure they pay attention to celebrity advocates, and also keep in mind that what they do now, will affect them in the future.


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