The rate of childhood obesity in the United States continues to grow, and in the long term, this trend can threaten the health of the entire nation, even though the dangers of this phenomenon may not be immediately noticeable. In this speech, I would like to discuss the relationship between childhood obesity and the sustainability of the country. This topic has long been of great interest to me, and I have examined various books, scholarly articles, and governmental websites that help readers better understand this question. Overall, I would like to focus on the economic, environmental, and health aspects of this issue because they can influence millions of people. It is possible to argue that this trend requires the close attention of parents, educators, and medical workers who should pay attention to the dietary habits of children. In this way, they can eliminate a great number of risks. These are the main arguments that can be put forward.
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According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2014), approximately 17 percent of children in the United States suffer from obesity. This percentage is very large in other advanced countries as well (Arundel Street Consulting, 2011). Moreover, in the future, these people can develop such disorders as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and high blood pressure (Williams & Fruhbeck, 2009, p. 214). The effects of obesity can become particularly noticeable at the time when people reach the stage of adulthood. Additionally, much attention should be paid to the risks of asthma and osteoarthritis since these illnesses are also very dangerous (Williams & Fruhbeck, 2009).
This argument is particularly relevant if one speaks about people who have not been able to cope with overweight during childhood or adolescence. This is one of the points that can be made. It should be mentioned that the annual costs of treating obesity-related illnesses equal to more than $ 147 billion (Arundel Street Consulting, 2011, p. 41). In the future, the economic impact of the issue will only increase (Arundel Street Consulting, 2011, p. 41). Therefore, the burden carried by the healthcare system will become even more onerous due to increasing population growth. This is one of the reasons why this issue cannot be easily dismissed by policy-makers and medical workers. In particular, medical workers, such as nurses, should focus on the education of parents and children who should fully understand the dangers of overweight.
Another threat that should not be overlooked is the mortality of people suffering from obesity-related diseases. It is estimated that obesity may cause approximately 150.000 deaths on an annual basis (Williams & Fruhbeck, 2009). To a great extent, these deaths can be attributed to cardiovascular disease (Williams & Fruhbeck, 2009, p. 214). Certainly, obesity-related diseases do not directly affect children. However, the effects of these disorders can manifest themselves in the future, especially at the stage of adulthood. Therefore, in the long term, childhood obesity can influence thousands of families. This is one of the points that should be taken into account by parents who should not overlook the eating habits of children. This aspect of their behavior can profoundly influence their development in the future.
Additionally, I want to mention other risks related to this problem. In particular, overweight children tend to be bullied or stigmatized in schools, and many of them can encounter various psychological difficulties such as the complex of inferiority or anxiety (Hawdon, Ryan, & Lucht, 2014, p. 156). In the long-term, their social skills can be significantly impaired. This is one of the details that parents and educators should take into account in order to help children. They need to keep in mind that obesity does not harm the only physical health of a person; in many cases, it can have profound implications for the psychological state of a person, and the quality of his/her life can be significantly reduced.
Moreover, it is important to mention that the production of fast food, which is related to childhood obesity, results in significant environmental challenges. For example, one can speak about the pollution resulting from various plastic containers that are necessary for the storage of such products. Furthermore, fast food chains make excessive use of paper, and in the long-term, their activities can lead to deforestation (Smith, 2006). This is one of the risks that should be taken into account. Admittedly, fast-food production is not the most critical pollution factor; nevertheless, its impact should not be disregarded.
Hopefully, these examples demonstrate that childhood obesity can endanger the sustainability of society. In particular, much attention should be paid to the economic costs of healthcare, environmental pollution, and healthcare problems encountered by many children. In the long term, this trend can adversely affect the entire community. Overall, the effects of childhood obesity are more likely to manifest themselves when a person becomes older. In this case, it is critical to focus on the needs of individuals, families, and the environment. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.
Thank you for your attention.
Arundel Street Consulting. (2011). America’s Health Rankings, 2013 Edition: A call to action for individuals and their communities. New York, NY: United Health Foundation.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. (2014). Childhood Obesity Facts. Web.
Hawdon, J., Ryan, J., & Lucht, M. (2014). The Causes and Consequences of Group Violence: From Bullies to Terrorists. New York, NY: Lexington Books.
Smith, A. (2006). Encyclopedia of Junk Food and Fast Food. New York, NY: Greenwood Publishing Group.
Williams, G., & Fruhbeck, G. (2009). Obesity: science to practice. New York, NY: John Wiley & Sons.