Preventing Childhood Obesity with Physical Activity
Obesity is the most widespread nutritional ailment in the United States. It has been connected with such problems as cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes and stroke. In the United States, one-third of the population struggles with obesity, which is defined as an excess of 20 percent over the ideal body weight for a given height. Those who suffer from obesity fight back with limited success, trying everything from appetite suppressants and starvation diets to exercise regimens and other weight-loss programs (Andrews, 1996). Obesity is particularly difficult for children because they do not have the tools and knowledge to ensure they do not become overweight. In order to prevent or reverse childhood obesity, children need to be active. It is especially common to find that most of the kids that suffer from obesity have a lifestyle that includes very little exercise.
According to Torgan, "The number of children who are overweight has doubled in the last two to three decades; currently one child in five is overweight" (Torgan, 2002).
Several factors have contributed to the rising numbers of obese children. Lack of physical activity is the leading cause of obesity in children. Children have decreased their involvement in physical activities, and have increased their participation in sedentary activities.
High-calorie foods are a major factor to being obese. Instead of choosing to eat an apple between physical activities, children sit on the couch to watch television while eating handfuls of potato chips. "Foods with higher fat are easier to access as many families tend to eat out or eat on the run, often eating foods in larger portions with a higher caloric intake," says Samuel Gidding, (Keyes Kun, 2003). The era of home cooking has almost disappeared from our society. Parents often stop to buy pizza...