Childhood Obesity Prevention: Physical Education and Nutrition

Abstract

In most cases, many people believe that obesity is a childhood problem. This may be true to some extent. However, it is important to note that unless controlled, as a child grows, obesity can lead to many health complications in adulthood. In this regard, to help children avoid health problems that may result due to excessive weight gain, it is important for parents to insist on embracing good eating and living lifestyles. In addition, elementary schools should introduce physical exercises as a measure of controlling childhood obesity.

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Additionally, parents should urge their children to adopt preventive programs that reduce the obesity risks and avoid giving children foods rich in calories, fats and cholesterol.. For example, in early stages of a child’s development, parents should emphasize on continuous exercises, adoption of good communication methodologies, and taking dietary precautions. It is imperative to note that failing to guide children and control their eating habits can lead to obesity related disease such as heart problems, diabetes, and cancer.

The paper examines how physical education in schools can prevent child obesity, and that schools should change foods offered for lunches. In addition, the paper examines the importance of educating parents on the importance of proper nutrition. Considering the nature of the adverse effects these health complications have in life, it therefore becomes necessary for families and all caretakers to ensure good preventive measures, rather than waiting until a child’s health condition gets out of hand (Arens & Muzumdar, 2009, pp. 436-440).

Introduction

The growth of technology and development of new nutritional styles have affected the eating lifestyles of people all over the world. These effects have heightened with the advent of industrialization and globalization. In the contemporary society, the consumption of natural foods is becoming an old-fashioned thing. It is worrying to note how the current generation has shifted to consume processed-packed foods instead of naturally occurring foods.

In most case, this has been the main factor behind childhood obesity and other health complications that affect the whole populace. Worse still, many people are unaware what makes them physically fit. It is important to note that parents are the prime determinants of eating habits; most of them have failed to adopt and encourage good eating habits among their children. Fascinatingly, poor eating habits result into a health complication known as obesity- a healthy condition that results due to excess or uncontrolled weight gain, primarily a scenario that emanates from excessive fat buildup in body tissues.

Interestingly, adult individuals can realize the change in their bodies but when it comes to children, the case is different because they are unaware of what causes overweight. This is the main reason why parents and teachers should take responsibility to oversee and manage the eating habits of their children for example, educating children to take proper foods and telling them to exercise regularly (British Medical Association, (n.d.), p.1)

Consequences

Parents and teachers should understand that obesity affect the physical development of a child. In comparison with other health complications, obesity affects more children especially in developed countries although children from richer families in developing countries are also victims. This makes childhood obesity a matter of great concern.

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Research shows that there is a connection between childhood and childhood obesity and hence the need to take a closer look. This is the reason why research experts recommend physical exercises in schools and change of foods offered for lunch. In addition, it is important to note that if parents administer dietary foods to their children, childhood obesity will not be a big issue. (World Health Organization, (n.d.), Para. 1-3).

The greatest concern about childhood obesity is that obesity associates with other health problems, which affect children adversely leading to a paralysis in growth development. This is the case because, any health complications that individuals undergo in their early childhood always have affects on late life developments, whereby complications resulting from obesity are no exceptions. On the other hand, it is important to note that, uncontrolled or untamed cases of obesity can lead to death; death caused by other health complications that emanate from childhood obesity. (Bellizi, Cole, Dietz & Flegal, 2000, 1240-1243).

For example, diabetes is a health complication that results due to sugar accumulation in the body, most probably because a child has taken large amounts of sugary foods. Excess accumulation of fat in the body causes problems with glucose intolerance, hence accelerating the accumulation of glucose in the body. In fact, this type of diabetes has other related health complications for example; loss of eyesight and kidney problems makes obesity a more risky and dangerous health problem. Therefore, it is imperative to exercise measures that control childhood obesity rest the complications advance (Arslania, Hannon & Rao, 2005, pp 473-479)

Parents and teachers should also understand that physical exercises to children limit children from cardiovascular problems; the problem lacks early diagnosis and control. This is why it is vital to note many adults suffering from obesity have cardiovascular problems. Proper dietary intake is the primary measure aimed at preventing children from becoming obese (Fletcher, Grundy & Hayman, 1999, pp. 3-16). In fact, the many cases of cardiovascular complications result due to excessive accumulation of fats in the body, and included health complications such as hypertension, stroke, coronary health ailments, and other heart ailments (Deanfield &Whincup, 2005, pp. 432-433 and Fletcher, Krauss & Winston, 1998, Para. 8).

Proper dietary intake can alleviate sleeping apnea, which is a complication emanating from excessive accumulation of fats in the body. Sleeping apnea is a sleeping problem, which results due to the obstructive nature of the excessive accumulated fats in the body; in most cases, near the neck. Largely, this problem exhibits itself inform of loud snoring, and disturbed breathing patterns, which make breathing through the nose a problem.

Effects resulting from this condition are many and in some cases fatal to the general development of a child. This is because, in most scenarios, the problem results to many sleep disturbances leading to problems such as bed-wetting, agitated behavioral tendencies, and learning disorders among children and adults (Arens & Muzumdar, 2009, pp. 436-443).

Apart from the many health complications that result from obesity, the worst part of being obese comes with the psychological torture. Majority of obese children face much discrimination from peers who are supposed to help them develop their self- esteem. Research studies show that, if the obesity problem persists into adulthood, majority of individuals with this problem face many social-economic problems in their future life (Burniat, 2002, pp. 143).

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The problem of obesity is worse if a child comes from the society that ridicules or has the tendency to discriminate. In certain cases, some employers want to hire normal people instead of the obese. Thus, children brought under this environment find the social life hard to manage and can suffer psychological torture (et.al. 2002, pp. 144- 145).

Causes

Research shows that energy disproportions in the body and an imbalance in amounts of calories that individuals consume daily and the amounts processed or used by the body for crucial body process such as the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR, results into childhood obesity. In addition, childhood obesity emanates from a combination of many factors that can be genetic, environmental or through wrong eating habits (Mikhailovich & Morrison, 2005, p. 311).

The fundamental factors behind obesity include poor eating habits (nutritional), biological body problems, genetic problems (familial), or psychological problems. This means that the way parents raise their own children especially on matters of food determines whether the children become obese or not. In most cases, research shows that obese parents can also give birth to children whose chances of becoming obese lie high. In addition, due to lack of knowledge, many parents do not guide their children to perform exercises, something that results to excessive fats accumulation in the body. This is the main cause of childhood obesity as cases of gene occurring obesity are minimal.

We cannot rule out the possibility of children becoming obese because of genetic complications. Nevertheless, the nature of lifestyles that children live also is the great contributor to the development of the condition. For instance, if parents feed their children with high calorie content foods, whereby most of them never consider the importance of exercise to reduce the accumulation of such calories, then we expect these children to suffer from obesity.

In addition, the school lunch meals can heighten the possibility of children becoming obese. That is why the paper recommends proper exercises and change of lunch offered meals. Food rich in calories are not good for developing children hence, parents and teachers should desist from feeding these foods to developing children. Therefore, this prompts many children to ask for such foods, a fact that becomes worse in scenarios where parents have less control on what their children do.

Long – Life effects of Obesity

Although most individuals do not take the concept of child obesity seriously, it is important for everyone to note that, lack of control of obesity during childhood has many adverse effects as one enters into adulthood. As proved by researches of the World Health Organization, the most common lifelong impact of obesity include pre-mature deaths, marriage problems, and in some instances disabilities. This is because, likelihoods of obese children being the same in adulthood are high and most of them lack control measures that are crucial in avoiding obesity.

Another common problem that can result as a child grows into adulthood is the occurrence of obesity related health complications that include cardiovascular diseases such as heart failures, diabetes, and cancer (mostly colon, breast, and endometrial cancer). Research findings from WHO show that approximately two and half million individuals die annually from the health complication. This therefore shows the severity of the problem, because not only is obesity a health threat, but also it is an economic threat, primarily because of the dying young energetic population (World Health Organization, 2010, p.1).

On top of health related problems, obese people find social life difficult especially when it comes to marriages and maintaining of health relationships; factors so important for the survival of any individual. The media has reported so many cases of obese discrimination in group interactions and jobs for example, in the military. In support of the media, Burniat (2002, p. 115) argues, due the judgmental nature of most peers, majority of obese children undergo psychological torture, hence development of personality problems, which exhibit in the later life.

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Obesity Prevention Strategies

The paper has examined how obesity in children occurs and what causes it. The next step is to analyze the prevention strategies so that children become obese free. We all know that physical education is vital in schools and changing the foods offered for lunches minimizes the chances of children becoming obese. Additionally, due to the adverse nature of problems that result from obesity, it is important for parents to adopt measures that will ensure they tame the rapid gaining of body weight. In most case, the parents lack knowledge on proper nutrition.

This is the reason why there should be proper education on parents on proper nutrition. Parents should wary of the dangers some foods pose to their children. It worries o note that most parents do not know how to communicate to their children concerning obesity (Mikhailovich &Morrison, 2007, pp311-316). In situations like this, children are the determinants of what they take, as they do not know that calorie rich foods are dangerous to their bodies. Parents should also be aware that have great influences on their children’s lifestyles hence, can help to control what they eat. They can also assign their children some manual activities, which will make them perform the little exercise needed by the body.

Thus, for children to realize the exact impacts of their eating habits and develop good and dietary eating habits, parents to establish communication channels that will ensure their children know effects of the lifestyles they have adopted. They should educate their children the importance of observing proper nutrition and recommend physical exercises to their children. After all, parents are the one who provide food for their children. Thus, if they do not know the kind of foods they give their children, their children can end up being obese. Thus, for parents to administer proper dietary foods to their children, they should access information on the same, which will enable then observe proper nutrition.

Medics recommend physical activity as the best strategy of preventing childhood obesity. This is because, through physical activity, the body is able to utilize a substantial amount of calories, whose accumulation is the primary cause of obesity. In addition, physical exercises should accompany sedentary behaviors that requite the use of energy in order to burn some calories. Moreover, teachers can take children to the field for exercises aimed at maintaining the physical fitness of their bodies. In general, both parents and teachers ought to encourage children to perform some surmountable exercises in order to minimize the chances of childhood (Shanley &Thompson, 2006, pp. 74-94).

Nevertheless, the two strategies will be useless if parents and teachers fail to perform the duty of administering dietary foods to the children. It is important to note that many children enjoy taking sugary foods either at home, school or on the way. They do not know the dangers associated with these foods, as most of these foods have very high calorie and fat content; two factors behind obesity. This is the main reason why educating parents on the importance of proper nutrition stand tall.

In addition, parents should watch the eating habits of their children with great concern to avoid them becoming obese. They should discourage their children from taking foods with high content fats and calories, instead, recommend nutritive foods that are rich in important supplements that are necessary for a healthy body. In addition, they should encourage their children to participate in extracurricular activities both at home and at school (Akhtar-Danesh, Dehgan and Merchant, 2005, Para. 18-19).

Owerweight children Trends In the last three decades
Obesity in children 2-15 in England

(British Medical Association, 2010, p.1)

Conclusion

In conclusion, it is true obesity affect many children. As a result, many children end up developing other complications such as diabetes, heart problems, cancer, and atherosclerosis. In order to alleviate these problems caused by obesity, it is important schools emphasize more on physical education and exercise vigilance in dietary intake. The government should also educate parents on the importance of observing nutritional balance in order to prevent childhood obesity.

On the other hand, schools should introduce curriculum of dietary intake, with an aim of educating the population on the modalities of preventing child obesity. In particular, the curriculum should emphasize on the dangers of obesity in children for example, childhood obesity affects the standards of living of many families. Parents should be at the forefront to ensure tat their children take dietary food that involve vitamins, carbohydrates, proteins, and minerals, as a way of encouraging good eating habits. They should also resist from giving calorie rich foods to their children, instead, encourage children to perform physical exercises and take some manual activities both at home, and school.

Reference List

Arens, R., & Muzumdar, H., (2009). Childhood obesity and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Journal of Applied Physiology, 108, 436-444. Web.

Arslanian, S. A., Hannon, T. S., & Rao, G. (2005). Childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pediatrics, 116(2), 473-480. Web.

Bellizi, M. C., Cole, T. J., Dietz, W. H. & Flegal, K. M. (2000). Establishing a standard definition for child Overweight and obesity worldwide. BMJ, 320, 1236-1240. Web.

British Medical Association. Child Obesity. BMA. Web.

Burniat, W. (2002). Child obesity: causes and consequences, prevention and management. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Web.

Deanfield, P. H., & Whincup, J. E. (2005). Childhood obesity and cardiovascular disease: the Challenge ahead. Natural Clinical Practice Cardiovascular Med, 2(9), 432-433. Web.

Fletcher, B., Krass, R. M., Winston, M. (1998). Obesity: impact on cardiovascular disease. Circulation, (98), 1472-1476. Web.

Fletcher, F. G., Grundy, M S., & Hayman, L. L. (1999). Obesity: impact on cardiovascular disease. New York: Future Publishing Company. Web.

Mikhailovich, K., & Morrison, P. (2005). Discussing childhood overweight and Obesity with parents: a healthy communication dilemma. Journal of Child Health Care, 11(4), 311-322.

Shanley, T. E., & Thompson, C. A. (2006). Overcoming childhood Obesity. Colorado: Bull Publications.

World Health Organization. Stop the Global epidemic of chronic disease. WHO. Web.

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StudyCorgi. (2021, April 22). Childhood Obesity Prevention: Physical Education and Nutrition. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/childhood-obesity-prevention-physical-education-and-nutrition/

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