Fighting childhood obesity with little help from the government

forbird

by Rachael Kudlacek

Ever had a person in your family struggle with their weight? Ever struggled with your own weight? Now have you ever seen a child struggle with their weight? I have and its someone from my own family, growing up she was almost identical to other kids. But what separated her was her size. She wasn’t like other kids and she knew that and hated herself for it, she would always want to be like the others are able to run as fast and play as long. She would be out of breath after racing up the hill to go play on the play ground; she couldn’t play cops and robbers that long because she would always get caught. But in all reality she just couldn’t, she wasn’t able to and sometimes didn’t even want to try. So she just sat in the house and watched television or played video games in the basement. As she grew older she knew she was always different she was an outcast and has always struggled with her weight to this day.  To this day she wished she was smaller and started doing things to help prevent this as a child, and wished there were more options for kids.

This is exactly why I think this is such a huge issue in America; the rates of childhood obesity are growing rapidly. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in their article regarding Childhood Obesity Facts; “Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years”(“Childhood Obesity Facts”). Children in our society are struggling to maintain a healthy lifestyle and weight for their age. With attractive commercials about these fries that are healthier than all the rest. About burgers that are so juicy they will knock your socks off. Kids are being hypnotized by society and their ploys to get children to eat more. We have so many fast food places around every waking corner, and just in case your favorite restaurant isn’t 2 blocks from your house there is your favorite within a five mile radius of you. We are feeding children such un-healthy food and they have no idea, they are just happy to get the cools boys toy instead of the girly one now.

We should be teaching the children of America the healthier food to eat and why it is so important to be eating this food. It will be hard for little kids to understand but I believe that we should have some type of health class every couple of years because our bodies change so much as we get into our older adolescents. We could create fun activities for kids to understand and desire more healthier food than the fattier more un-healthy food that is being advertised everywhere.

We should continue to give them recess and provide them with gym classes fit for their age, not only teaching then fun and athletic games that they might soon be involved in as they grow older. But teaching them fun and good ways to exercise and why it’s important they do some exercise almost every day. “Most states and school districts require physical education at all three levels, and almost all schools require students to take some physical education. However, most students are not receiving the recommended amount of physical education” (Burgeson p.28). How is it that we are requiring so much and yet the kids are still not getting g the recommended amount, maybe we are making the classes or cutting out some daily exercise? One amazing way for kids to get a daily exercise on top of a weekly gym class is to provide them with a daily recess. Not only are they going to burn off hyped up energy from sitting in class all day but they will be able to get some good exercise running around with their friends and just having fun.

I firmly believe that the government is in need of some help to regulate childhood obesity and to reverse the already damaging effects it has caused on many unsuspecting children. I also know they have made a few strides to help overcome this epidemic; one of their major motivators is Michelle Obama. Michelle Obama said, “For the first time, the nation will have goals, benchmarks, and measureable outcomes that will help us tackle the childhood obesity epidemic one child, one family, and one community at a time” (The White House Par. 2). So we are taking some things into account and trying to fix them before they get worse. We are trying to give out the correct portion size to the correct age group so they are not over eating on any of the serving sizes. They are pushing for this and rewarding many with extra funding to school programs that are taking in these recommendations and guidelines they are trying to implement.

I believe this is the smart way to go because this is where majority of kids will send their time in a year within school or some type of school system. As I said previously Michelle Obama has been pushing for this for a while. She has even started her own campaign called Let’s Move; helping kids by giving fun food ideas that are healthy for them to eat as a snack instead of eating a candy bar.  Also encouraging kids to get out there and play instead of staying inside and watching television. Many parents have also found a very smart and efficient way to keep their kids proactive.

Some schools have implemented a “Walking School Bus”; this is just as simple as it sounds. You just have to see the interest of children walking to school in the surrounding neighborhood, and then get a couple volunteers to walk the kids to and from school throughout the week. Then all that is left is create a safe and fun route for the kids to walk every morning to and from school. This way they are getting even more exercise, they are also able to socialize with other class mates in their surrounding area, and it’s also helping the parents with saving money (“Starting a Walking School Bus”).

Our government should be funding more of these efforts to keep gym class and recess for kids because it is helping them stay healthy. They should also help create and implement classes for children to take so they can learn about their bodies and how certain food will affect them in the long run. Our government isn’t doing enough to help out this overwhelming epidemic of childhood obesity. I would have loved to see my family member not be criticized throughout her life for being the bigger girl in school. I have a dream that one day children will be rid of this wretched teasing and manipulation that we have taught the current generation. So be a part of the movement to end childhood obesity.

Works Cited

Burgeson, Charlene. “Physical Education’s Critical Role in Educating the Whole Child & Reducing Childhood Obesity.” The State Education Standard. n.page., n.d. Web. 13 Mar 2014.

“Childhood Obesity Facts.” Center for Disease Control and Prevention. n.page., 10 Jul 2013. Web. 16 Feb 2014.

“Starting a Walking School Bus.” Walking School Bus. n.page. Web. 2 Mar 2014.

The White House,. “Childhood Obesity Task Force Unveils Action Plan: Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.” The White House. n.page., 11 May 2010. Web. 16 Feb 2014.

 

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6 thoughts on “Fighting childhood obesity with little help from the government

  1. I like your enthusiasm and passion in this article. I agree, with more and more schools serving unhealthy food and cutting back on recess and PE, the government needs to step in and create a more stable and healthy school environment for the children. But along with the government the parents need to realize they play a big role in the child’s development too. Together the parents and school systems need to create a healthy, active environment.

    • You’re message in this article is very clear. You express your passion very well on the subject. I do agree with you, the government needs to step in and help but at the same sense a lot of problems start at home. Parents also need to be aware of what their children eat and how much physical activity he or she is doing through out the day. If parents were to enforce a little more of healthier snacks and more physical activity there would be less of a problem.

  2. Your passion about this subject is apparent in your writing; you have great conviction! I agree with you, especially in regards to needing to improve physical education courses and the need for recess. It is physically beneficial for children to play and exercise, and children need a break from classes during the day anyway. Kids aren’t made to sit in desks all day. I think health education courses are a great idea, and they should focus on teaching people about living a balanced life. Rather than saying that you can never eat out or never eat certain foods or play video games, teaching moderation is a better, more reasonable goal.

  3. The government does need to be active in order to reduce childhood obesity. However, the parents of the obese child needs to set good examples for the child. If the parent is making horrible eating choices then of course the child is going to do the same thing. The government can require schools to have physical education five days a week, along with recess daily. Also they can control what schools serve to their students. Instead of serving pizza or hot dogs, they can serve salad and fruit or veggies. With help from the government and parents, there can be healthier and more active children across the United States.

  4. This is a very important issue here in America. I also have a relative who has struggled with weight her whole life. As she pointed out to me, the good-for-you food is usually more expensive and time consuming than the not-good-for you food. Unfortunately we live in a society where “time is money” so it is difficult to make time for our health, especially, as you pointed out, with so many unhealthy options around us and usually in disguise. I think a great idea to incorporate into your proposed health classes would be to teach children how to grow their own gardens. They could really learn to develop a relationship with their food at a young age. How does that saying go, “You are what you eat”. Although, if we all started growing our own gardens we would actually have to have the time to make use of them . . .and then how would big business get money from us?

  5. I’m not sure what the government can do besides imposing taxes or banning certain foods from being distributed, which of course does not go over well with large corporations. I do believe that people should eat healthier, but the government can’t force Americans to do so, it must be a personal choice. The government does not make America fat, it helps no doubt, but they can’t be solely blamed for the obesity ‘epidemic’. Therefore, they shouldn’t be tasked with solely resolving the obesity epidemic. It starts with American families having a desire to be healthier, which most do not, they have the education on poor diet and sedentary lifestyles and choose to live that way. Government intervention should not be a big factor in preventing obesity.

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