Monday, October 7, 2013

The History of Childhood Obesity in the United States

Childhood obesity is not an uncommon thing anywhere in the world, regardless of race or ethnicity. A child that doesn’t get the proper amount of vegetables and vitamins, or misses out on outdoor activities has a high chance of being obese. In the United States, 18 percent of children between the ages of 12 and 19 are considered to be obese. But what does childhood obesity actually mean in comparison to the national average in regard to weight.

What is Obesity?
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the rate of childhood obesity has climbed ever since they began their survey in the 1960’s. From 1960 to 1970, 4.2 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 4.6 of 12 to 19 year olds were obese. In the 1980’s, 11.3 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 10.5 of 12 to 19 year olds were obese. In 2001, over 16 percent of 6 to 11 year olds were obese. In 2011 nothing changed and saw another increase of 19.6 and 18.1 percent of 6 to 11 year olds and 12 to 19 year olds were obese.

What Causes Obesity?
There isn’t exactly a proven reason that some children are overweight. Scientists don’t have to study on the subject matter too much, because the direct result comes from a poor diet and lack of exercise. In an effort to discover a “fat gene”, it is far more likely that a child will be obese due to habits passed down from parents. While childhood obesity has been on the rise since the 1960’s, so has adult obesity. The statistics are almost exactly the same between children and adults.

Who’s to Blame?
Sometimes it’s easier to blame the fast food industry for allowing our kids to eat their high fat foods ultimately we must blame the parents.  Child who grows up in a household that doesn’t eat fast food is far more likely to carry the habit of eating properly into his/her adult life. Another cause can be directed at the video game industry, which has children indoors instead of playing sports or being active with other kids. Nintendo Wii has made efforts to intertwine fitness and video games by offering fun and enjoyable sports games to get the family moving.


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