On September 01, 2010 Presidential Obama Proclaimed September 2010 as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.
This is in response to an epic outbreak of fat kids from fat families, with fat adults, making us a fat nation. While many nations struggle with poverty and hunger, America tips the scales of excess into lethal obesity.
40 Million orphans in Africa alone struggle to survive, which is just one example of a land with too little resources.
Yet in the face of world hunger America has fattened itself on a buffet of excess and laziness. As a result, we have produced a generation that is predicted to die younger than their parents. Think about that for a moment! America has the greatest resources of modern technology, medicine, health care, emergency response than any other country at any time in history, and yet, our children will have shorter lives than their parents? That is unacceptable!
For that reason alone, childhood obesity should be seen as a national embarrassment.
On September 1st, 2010, President Obama said, “the greatest responsibilities we have as a Nation is to safeguard the health and well-being of our children.” He continued to point out that our national childhood obesity crisis is the result of one in every 3 American children are obese, leading to a staggering $150 billion spent annually in medical costs related to obesity. “This is not the future to which we want to consign our children, and it is a burden our health care system cannot bear,” added the President.
According to childhood obesity statistics, 70% of obese children will remain obese in adulthood. Doctors are concerned with the increase of children with type 2 diabetes due to obesity. High levels of cholesterol and high blood pressure is causing children to develop heart conditions.
This epidemic of childhood obesity did not emerge overnight. The seed of apathy was planted twenty years ago. According to a report from healthier kids bright futures.org, “Childhood obesity has quadrupled among kids ages 6 to 11.” They estimate over 23 million children and teenagers in the United States ages 2 to 19 are obese or overweight, hence a national epidemic.
As a former PE Teacher I had a ring-side seat to the rise of childhood obesity the past ten years. I taught 4th-12th grade physical education for private schools which mandated PE in their curriculum. Each class we began with 4 minutes of age appropriate warm up exercises. 70% of the students regardless of their age, could not complete the 4 minutes of exercises. 90% of those students still couldn’t complete the 4 minutes of exercise by the conclusion of the school year. 84% of my students did not pass the Presidential Physical Fitness test. I had honor-roll level students fail PE or earn less than an A because of a lack of effort, and nine out of ten times the parents would complain because to them, PE was nothing more than a recess and social time for their son or daughter. (These statistics for this school represent an private school of 300 students of multi-ethnic student body from urban communities in Orange County, New York).
Experts will analyze the causes for this crisis and lay blame in various areas such as schools canceling PE (Physical Education classes), unhealthy school lunches. Others blame McDonalds super size meals and the lure of happy meals, giving trinkets as prizes for fat kids eating hamburgers. Some people blame the age of technology, video games, remote control, as handicapping a child’s willpower to stay physically active.
Regardless of the expert’s opinions, sole responsibility for childhood obesity lies with the parents and guardians of children. Every child needs to be motivated and loved. It starts with parents caring enough to purchase and cook healthy food. Secondly parents may need to do the unthinkable, and actually take the video games away, and instead go for a family walk. Thirdly, parents need to set the example. The sad reality is many parents are enabling their fat kids. If that is you, it’s time for an intervention. Lay down the Chips, lace up the sneakers, and save your child’s life.
“Overweight: Overweight refers to an excess of body weight compared to set standards. The excess weight may come from muscle, bone, fat, and/or body water. Individuals with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight.”
“Obesity: Obesity refers specifically to having an abnormally high proportion of body fat. Individuals with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese.” (http://www.overweightteen.com/statistics.html)