According to the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry between 16 and 33% of children and adolescents are obese. http://www.aacap.org/AACAP/Families_and_Youth/Facts_for_Families/Facts_for_Families_Pages/Obesity_In_Children_And_Teens_79.aspx The rates for childhood obesity are absurd, I think the rise is due to many factors that have already been discussed in this blog; social media, magazines and fast food, but I think the biggest influence/ factor to childhood obesity is the way they are raised. I feel that the habits children pickup when they are little will be the habits they continue when they’re an adult.
I believe that the recent economy struggles make it difficult for children to be raised in a proper environment to develop healthy lifestyle habits. Magazines are giving children, especially young girls, a false idea of what they should look like, by creating an ‘ideal woman’, they put unhealthy ideas in their head and create an environment for unnatural eating and exercising habits and giving them low self-esteem. The idea around fast food is also letting them grow up thinking that it is okay to eat that type of food for most of the time, as this is what they are used to.
Social media and advertisements are creating a generation of ‘couch potato kids’ or the kids of the technology age. I was at the mall the other day and while I was shopping there was a child, no older than 5 or 6, playing on an iPad while her mom was trying clothes on, I found this to be very disturbing. When I was growing up I played outside until the street lights came on, whenever it was light outside I would be running around playing with my friends, I didn’t get a phone until grade 10 and didn’t have internet until I was 14. Nowadays 10 year olds are getting iPhones and playing video games all day and are become extremely lazy. This concerns me a lot, if every generation of kids grows up like this, what will our world be like in the future? Will there be no outside life, will kids spend every waling hour in front of a screen?
I think that parents need to step up their game and get their kids active, even if they cannot afford to enroll them in organized sports, they need to find a way to get their children outside and moving, give them a certain amount of time allowed in front of the TV and try and educate them on healthy habits, even if they cannot practice them themselves. I really like what the Biggest Loser is doing in terms of involving kids in the show and “Challenging America”, I think that by involving kids and teaching them about healthy eating habits they can help motivate their parents to practice and take on these healthy habits as well.