Obesity is the result of consuming too many calories and not having enough activity throughout the day to burn those calories. Difficulty for parents in their roll with childhood obesity stems from dual-working households, the expense of purchasing higher-nutritional foods, popularity and immense use of technology by households and genuine confusion about how much children need to actually consume daily to meet the physical needs of their growing bodies. Identifying these factors gives parents an idea of what aspects of nutrition to be diligent about.
Dual parent working households
Childhood obesity has several intrinsic causes that result in the imbalance of nutrition consumed and the energy that is expended. Imbalance seems to be a recurring theme related to the reasoning behind this obesity pandemic. It is societal commonplace now for either one-parent households, or dual-parent families, where both parents work outside of the home to be the norm. This structure creates a situation where children are left to care for themselves throughout the day or after school during routine meal times. Children can only usually prepare for themselves less nutritional options like packaged, high-calorie convenience foods, and busy parents simply fail to take the time to prep better-to-eat foods for their children. On the other hand, even when healthier options are available, children must be taught to elect consuming them over perceptively more delicious junk-food options. When parents work outside of the home there is a serious time factor forfeited. Lost time with children results in lost opportunities to set an example and establish latent, healthy eating habits.
The expense factor of nutritious foods
Early on, nutritional foods are the most critical. Obesity rates in children between the ages of two and five have doubled in just thirty years, tripling since 1980 according to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention. Households can struggle with balancing a food budget depending on family size and other socio-economic disadvantages. Yet, purchasing foods higher in nutrition can be affordably accomplished when focusing on sale and promotional items and planning out what the family will consume for the week when at home.
The majority of children get their daily meals while at school and funding has been a matter of necessity for many school nutrition programs, much like at home. Less than half of younger, school age children consume two daily servings of fruit. Fruit and vegetable servings are paramount to a balanced, healthier diet. Interestingly, the food industry spends in the neighborhood of 1.6 billion dollars annually to market food to kids every year. This goes hand in hand with the media channels and technology that brings such advertising directly to our kids.
Boundless use of technology
We have all seen them, the six-year old navigating an iPad, the younger sibling being pacified, tethered to his parents smart-phone. By age six, around one in five kids are overweight. When kids reach high school, just one third of students get the recommended daily amount of exercise. The CDC recommends a minimum of 60 minutes of exercise per day. Older children lead increasingly busy lives with full schedules and many social commitments, while younger children are faced with growing safety concerns. Children don’t “play outside” as much anymore because they are physically safer indoors, so they seek entertainment playing video games.
Kids, like adults can be confused about how much food they should eat. There is a distortion of portion-control in our society and obesity is the result of excessive daily caloric intake. Present day cookies are the size of Frisbees and people today plain eat way more than they need to. Reigning in the quantity of food prepared and presented at meal times goes together with increasing options for more healthful eating. Healthy eating is all about setting an example, providing foods kids like most, and making those foods as nutritious and wholesome as possible.
Childhood obesity rates are continuing to soar with 17 percent obesity rate in children two to nineteen years of age based on reports from the CDC. These obesity statistics are all the more alarming because the habits that contribute to childhood obesity are carried into adult hood. Once adults, there will be escalated risks of heart disease, diabetes and other health problems to contend with.