Lucy D. Barker 6:13 p.m., May 23
Combat Childhood Obesity in San Diego
Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is on the rise in the San Diego community. In fact, twenty percent of the children living in our community are considered to be obese. This is a real issue that exists in our community and across the nation. Childhood obesity is considered to be a serious medical condition. Obesity as a child can lead to the manifestation of a multitude of medical conditions that can affect them for the rest of their lives. Some of the potential medical problems include sleep apnea, diabetes, hypertension and hyperlipidemia. In addition, many children suffering from childhood obesity have low self-esteem which can lead to severe depression and body image issues. Childhood obesity is caused by sedentary lifestyles, inability to maintain physical activities and lack of educational material and resources. Children today are growing up in a world of fast food fixes and video game technology. Children are uneducated about better food choices and lacking the proper amount of physical activity needed to stay healthy. The consequence to failing to solve this issue is the rapid increase of the percentage of children that are obese. If this epidemic does not change more children will be suffering from a multitude of medical issues, psychological problems and can greatly impact their futures.
There are several key components to the solution of childhood obesity.First, early education at the very first prenatal visit when a woman is pregnant is a key component to the solution. Doctors and nurses can educate new mothers about healthy eating and exercise regimens during pregnancy. Second, children need to maintain at least one hour of physical education needed daily. Physical activity is extremely important in the regulation of a healthy metabolism. It is key to get schools to continue Physical education programs, especially for children who are unable to have enough active time outside of school. Lastly, healthier and more affordable foods in schools and homes must be available to the children. Fresh fruits and vegetables are important for consumption of the proper nutrients a young child needs to grow and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
The main reasons to my solutions are for new mothers to understand the risk of childhood obesity before the child is even born. Many women who lack exercise and have bad eating habits are at risk for gestational diabetes leading to large babies which can be a precursor for childhood obesity in the future. Also, less television time and more activity is important for children. More productive activities should be encouraged for the sake of a child’s health. With the way technology is growing, children are becoming more accustomed to watching television, playing video games and texting on their cell phones. Finally, the foods in school cafeterias and the quick fix of the dollar menu at the fast food restaurants are sabotaging children. Access to better and healthier food choices are essential for every child. Although many agree with changing this issue, the biggest objection I found among others includes parents who believe that physical education is not as important as the basic studies in the classroom. Physical education can help children feel better about themselves and can also help aid as a stress reliever.
In conclusion, childhood obesity is a serious issue that is affecting parents, teachers, healthcare workers, caregivers and most importantly the innocent children of the San Diego community. Educating one another on the subject of obesity as early as the beginning stages of pregnancy could greatly change the outcome of a child’s life. The view of this epidemic can change and can help many understand how serious this epidemic is to the community. More physical activity during school hours and economical after school programs can help initiate the effort in the fight against this growing issue. Fresh fruits and vegetables in our school cafeterias and in the home are essential for maintaining healthy children. This epidemic is rapidly spiraling out of control however with the help of families, teachers, caregivers and all members of the San Diego community this fight can be won.