As parents, our own lifestyles and life values are mirrored in our children. If we love pastries, ice creams, pizzas and burgers our kids will follow and I might add, suffer the consequences thus explaining why children are obese. Of course some parents have excellent control over their own eating habits but lack control or have very little control over the eating habits of their children. This too explains why children are obese.
With one in every three kids being obese, childhood obesity has become an epidemic in the U.S. Teaching our children to exercise control over the food they consume is of paramount importance because overweight children who have developed a liking for junk foods are twice as likely to become overweight adults.
Obesity in children
As we all know, too much food intake and little or no exercise will cause the excess food to be turned into fat. Childhood obesity is sometimes blamed on genetic or hormonal defects. While genetic or hormonal defects may indeed cause some to become obese, the percentage of such children is relatively minor. The most important obesity contributor by far, is over consumption of junk food, our children’s lifestyle.
The beginning of childhood obesity
The most important obesity trigger is an unhealthy diet. Most families prefer to purchase ready meals rather than cooking at home. Restaurant takeaways are the norm and many people live on fast food that comes loaded with trans-fat and large amounts of sodium (salt). All this food is unhealthy, triggers fat accumulation and clogs our internal plumbing. However, children and young adults consume junk food as well as junk beverages day in and day out. Coupled with lack of exercise, the unhealthy food packs in the pounds, leading to overweight children and adults.
We live in a society where there are too many shops selling ice creams, pastries and chocolates. Add to this fast food outlets; the vast majority of which concentrate on pizza, burgers, and various deep fried foods. These are all unhealthy temptations.
Apart from junk food enticements on every street, the moment our children get home and switch on the TV, there is junk food, chocolate and ice cream adverts aimed specifically at our children. Naturally the fragile sensory systems in our children are bombarded with lots of choices – choices of unhealthy foods. In short, the social environment this generation lives in is not conducive to a healthy lifestyle. This adds to the problem of childhood obesity and therefore, the need for parents to be ever vigilant.
Lack of exercise leads to overweight children
Children spend more time in front of the television or sitting at home playing video games. The average American kid spends more than five hours in front of the computer or television rather than taking up any physical activity. In addition, school policies have limited physical education in school. The whole environment therefore, is geared towards a sedentary lifestyle. Children consume foods rich in fats and sugars and combined with inadequate exercise this creates a perfect recipe for obesity related disaster. Indeed, our faulty policies and unhealthy lifestyles are the root cause to feed the childhood obesity epidemic.