Perecentages of U.S. Child and Adolescent Obesity

It is very tragic to those, who travel through this great country, when they see more than one third of children and adolescents either overweight or obese. This epidemic has taken our nation by storm over during the last three decades: the childhood obesity rate has more than doubled for preschool children aged (2-5 years old) and adolescents (12-19 years old) while it has more than tripled for children (6-11 years old). These children and adolescents face both immediate and long-term health risks, ranging from diabetes to increased risk for many types of Cancer and cardiovascular disease (Center for Disease Control).

I think it is agreed by all parties, including First Lady Michelle Obama, that childhood obesity is one of the greatest threats to American’s health and economy. Our current generation is being economically burdened by the nearly $100 billion annual cost for obesity, since it is the most difficult medical condition to treat (http://www.stop-childhood-obesity.com/childhood-obesity-statistics.html). Future generations will be living shorter life-spans and suffer from obesity-related illnesses while older and “healthier” generations will be paying for their medical costs.

Having thought about this perplexing situation for many years, I have maturely weighed all options in determining how to solve this epidemic that is slowly, but surely destroying our nation. Researchers have concluded that establishing healthy lifestyle habits at an early age, including daily physical activity and a healthy diet, can lower the risk of becoming obese. Children’s dietary and physical activity behavior are influenced by many factors, such as their family environment and schools (Center for Disease Control). If this epidemic is ever going to be solved, stronger measures must be taken.

I shall now offer my proposal for public consideration, which should not be taken TOO seriously:

To curb childhood obesity, the federal government will create a law in which all children across the United States must be weighed every day before lunch. Those children that are deemed overweight, according to the CDC Growth Charts which are used to determine the corresponding BMI-for-age-and sex percentile, must run for 2 minutes then do jumping jacks for five minutes before entering the cafeteria. They will only be permitted to eat from the fruit, vegetable and lean meat lines (desserts and sodas are absolutely prohibited). They also must sit within the designated “overweight” section so they can’t steal food from their thin schoolmates’ trays.

While the children are eating healthy foods at school, their parents could be providing unhealthy foods at home. If an obese child weighs more than he or she did the next day at school, he or she will run for 5 minutes and do jumping jacks for ten minutes the next day. The lean meat option will be taken away and the children will only be fed fruit and vegetables since they obviously are receiving “forbidden” food at home or elsewhere.

I cannot think of anyone that would object this proposal. By being publically humiliated each day at school, obese children will be driven to become healthy and no longer endure emotional humiliation from the education system. Parents would also be grateful that their children are establishing a sense of character and healthy eating habits (even encouraging them to choose healthier food options for dinner meals). Parents will also not have to pay for their children’s expensive future medical bills.

It is our government’s job to ensure that our children learn how to live a healthy lifestyle at an early age and this new law will eliminate the obesity epidemic within this great country for once and for all.

This is what will happen if stronger measures are not taken!

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10 responses »

  1. wartica says:

    These are great first steps to tackling the obesity epidemic ; ) Something has to be done about it – and fast ! Great post and I look forward to sharing more with you:)

  2. I think it is really the family’s job to provide healthy foods for the family – but I do sympathize when around every corner we are faced with mega portions of fat, salt and sugar – sigh.

  3. Jordi says:

    It’s already happening, your picture. I’m not sure you went far enough!

    J

  4. brookeparker16 says:

    What a phenomenal idea to stop childhood obesity! My dad is a doctor and I grew up learning about the increasing costs of health care almost daily. Clearly, something needs to be done and I think that this is it! Not only will this proposal help lower health care cost by decreasing childhood obesity but it will also encourage healthy eating and exercise. I suggest writing to your state senator and sharing this idea!

  5. Tomas Smaliorius says:

    You are what you eat they say! To some degree, I feel as if the children are the victims in this situation because many times kids will not have the opportunity to pick and choose what they want to eat. Obviously every kid wants to eat chocolate and sweets, and maybe banning those things could be the answer to eliminating obesity. The ban would exist until the child became mature enough (maybe around 12 years old) to make conscious decisions in regards to the food that they ate. I think the parents need to bare a lot of responsibility for obesity because parents can easily promote or discourage unhealthy food choices, and even have some say in terms of how much exercise a child received. They are the ones that spend the most time with the child, so the responsibility directly falls on their shoulders. For those parents who don’t know how to be healthy, I am sure creating parent schools would not be a problem for any entrepreneur looking to make a quick buck.

    • Kate says:

      Tomas, I really like your idea of creating parent schools. Children (most of the time anyway) look up to their parents and mimic their actions. Children who grow up in an environment where there are very few healthy food options don’t know any better. The education system can teach children good habits, but these habits will only stick if parents play their part too.

      Parent schools would provide great insight into how parents can create healthy meals at very low costs. It seems that a lot have of the obesity within the United States comes from lower income households, due to the fact that many families cannot afford healthier produce.

      The only question would be: who would run these parent schools? The government?

      • Jordi says:

        Yuck. No. Most parents are swamped already. If you want to let the government get involved, wouldn’t be better to use its power to control what goes into food and how it is marketed to kids? Or…. a small, TRUE story…

        Change school lunch programs. Spend more on them to get quality food. Lots of schools use junk food vending machines to plug hole sin the budget. My kid’s elementary school, k-3 offers them white (or, you know, NORMAL) milk, chocolate, or strawberry. As a free choice. I complained… what five year old is going to CHOOSE normal milk over chocolate?!?! Their answer was, I kid you not, that it is better than soda, chocolate milk. Ok, right. Good. That was not really the point though.

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