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Childhood Obesity: Causes/Solutions Research Paper


Thesis Statement

Childhood obesity is one of the biggest developing health problems associated with the things such as types of foods that children consume, genetic factors, addiction to highly pleasurable foods, and diminished physical activities.

Therefore, failure of the government to take precautionary measures such as controlling the foods served to children, introduction of BMI checking to schoolchildren, and planning of anti-obesity campaigns amongst others will automatically threaten the health of children and that of the population of the nation at large.


Obesity is the development of more weight than the body of an individual is supposed to carry. Ideally, the body of a person should carry weight within a certain range according to the height of the given individual. Much weight for a specific height is deemed overweight and consequently underweight for a much less weight for a specific height.

Therefore, childhood obesity is the development of more weight, which is mostly fats, more than the height can accommodate. It is usually 20% more body fat weight in a child. Childhood obesity is a serious health problem to society due to the frequency of obesity cases that are being reported of late.

The greatest concern brought about by childhood obesity is that it has been identified as a precursor to certain adulthood ailments if not controlled. Thus, controlling it is a way of eliminating some adulthood ailments. As Riley reveals, childhood obesity leads to such ailments as; “hypertension, respiratory ailments, orthopedic problems, depression, type two diabetes, and high cholesterol among others” (395).

Statistics about the problem

According to Green and Riley, childhood obesity has increased threefold since the year 1981. Sixteen per cent percentage of the population of children between the ages of 6 and 19 years suffer from obesity (917).

In the United States, 23% of children coming from poor families are likely to suffer from obesity compared to 14% of those who come from families that are doing well socially and economically (Riley 395). Obesity has led to a rise in the cost of healthcare for the national government with obesity cases consuming up to 71million dollars in terms of treatment between the years 2008-2009.

According to statistics, there has been a 50% increase in obese cases among children of 7-12 years during the years 1991-1998. Eyler finds that the United States of America government has had to come up with policies and legislation that would reverse the trend by the year 2015 (2294). This effort is an indicator to the seriousness of the problem and the concern that the government has towards it. What causes childhood obesity?

Causes of Childhood Obesity

The Foods in the Market

One of the biggest causes of childhood obesity is the type of food a child eats. Following the increase in populations and the decrease in the land for agricultural production, scientists have come up with ways of producing high yields of crops on remarkably small pieces of land for feeding the populations. Most of these foods are produced using biotechnology and bioengineering, which lead to high crop yields. Most crops produced using the methods have been cited as sources of obesity upon producing food from them.

High yield crop production involves altering of the genetic makeup of the crops. When consumed by children and or other people, the effects are directly transferred to them. Animals that used as food to human beings are usually fed on foods with high hormones to spur quick growth of the animals. When children feed on products from these animals, the hormones are directly transferred to them thus triggering a faster development of their cells and body tissues hence leading to obesity.

Genetic Factors

Genetic factors can also be attributed to be a cause of childhood obesity that happens when a child grows bigger than the actual size, and then it is cited as a family trend. Some people are naturally grown. This condition sometimes inherited and passes from one generation to the other.

The study further revealed that there is a 75% chance of children being obese if their parents were obese and a 75% chance of children being thin or slim if their parents were thin. This fact is a sure indicator that obesity is a genetic factor that is passed on from parents to their children. The situation can be controlled if the children engage in activities that can enable them burn the extra calories and fats.

Addiction to highly pleasurable foods

According to Pretlow, addiction to highly pleasurable foods can be one of the biggest causes of obesity in children between the age of 5years to 19years (297). Most of these highly pleasurable foods are extraordinarily high in calories thus leading to extremely fast weight gain in children and young adults.

The advent of fast food outlets has exacerbated the problem because most of the foods sold in fast food outlets are highly pleasurable besides containing excess calories. Addiction to these kinds of foods can be equated to some extent to the addiction found in substances like drugs. Addiction to highly pleasurable foods thus leads the child eating more and more of the food. Because they are not in a position to burn the loads of calories gained by their bodies, they tend to begin piling more and more fats in their bodies.

Diminished physical activities

Childhood obesity can be attributed to diminished physical activities among children. Most children nowadays do not engage in physical activities as compared to the past. In the past, most parents would engage their children in physical activities like doing household chores while going out to play at the same time as a way of engaging in fun. That trend has changed dramatically in the recent past with most children engaging in activities that are not energy sapping.

The trend has changed with the introduction of computer games in society. Most children have ended up becoming couch potatoes because they spend almost all of their playing time playing computer games, which are addictive in nature. The increase in television programs has also led to children getting addicted to watching television. Reilly finds that television companies have come up with tailor-made programs for children thus leading to television addiction (395).

Steps the government should take to eliminate the problem

Controlling the food served in schools

The government should come up with a policy guideline on what types of food can be served in school kitchens. Nutritionists should recommend the foods because they have the right calorie contents for children at specific ages.

This campaign will see the government prepare a school feeding diet program that is based on healthy eating habits, which are aimed at reducing obesity and hence eliminating it in the end. An observation by Wojcicki and Heyman contends that an awareness program starting from schools is a sure way of controlling obesity (1630).

Introduction of BMI check in schools

The government should introduce a regular body mass index check to all children in schools as a way of checking and regulating the problem. A regular body mass index check will make the children aware of their weight status and the need to keep healthy bodies and lifestyles.

Such checks can also be used for recommending specific physical activity programs to the children as a way of enabling them burn the excess fats that have accumulated in their bodies. Children growing up with the awareness of the right body mass index will be able to control overweight problems when they occur in the future thus ensuring a healthy nation.

Develop a nationwide anti obesity campaign

The government should develop a nationwide campaign that will see the awareness levels of the population increased to such an extent that everyone in society is aware of the problem. Huang observes that a nationwide campaign to eliminate obesity will enable parents bring up their children with awareness of the obesity problem (148).

Most parents are usually unaware of the obesity problem in their children thus ending up not taking the right steps to stop it. The society today is made up of parents who spend a lot of their time chasing their careers than taking care of their children and hence the need to remind them of their responsibility.


Childhood obesity is a complex problem that cannot be easily wished away due to the many different elements that cause to it. It needs a multipronged approach that will control it. The problem with obesity is that it cannot be eliminated. Thus, there is a need for the government to put measures as discussed above to minimize it as much as possible.

Works Cited

Eyler, Army et al. “Patterns and predictions of state childhood obesity legislation in United States: 2006-2009.” American Journal of Public health 102.12 (2012): 2294- 2302. Print.

Green, Gregory, and Riley Clarence. “Physical activity and childhood obesity: Strategies and solutions for schools and parents.” Education 132.4 (2012): 915-920. Print.

Huang, Terry. “Prevention and treatment: Solutions beyond the individual.” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics 35 (2007): 148-149. Print.

Pretlow, Robert. Addiction to highly pleasurable food as a cause of the childhood obesity epidemic: A qualitative internet study. Washington D.C: Routledge, 2008. Print.

Riley, John. “Childhood obesity: An overview.” Children & Society 21.5 (2007): 390-396. Print.

Wojcicki, Janet, and Melvin Heyman. “Reducing childhood obesity by eliminating 100% fruit juice.” American Journal of Public Health 102.9 (2012): 1630-1633. Print.

Note Card I

Summary Note Card:

Following the rising impacts that obesity has had on the US citizens, leave alone the children, there has been a call to the government to pass bills that emphasize the need to reduce the danger caused by this fatal disease. Patterns and Predictors of Enactment of State Childhood Obesity Legislation in the United States: 2006-2009 points out the efforts that the US is making to curb the rising trend by 2015. The article reveals how the US has made it a priority to pass bills that address needs of the obese people as a way of ensuring that they are not left to die of the disease when measures can actually be implemented to rescue them and the US at large.

Eyler, Army et al. “Patterns and predictions of state childhood obesity legislation in United States: 2006-2009.” American Journal of Public health 102.12 (2012): 2294- 2302. Print.

Quotation Note Card:

Eyler et al state, “…the number of bills introduced from 2006 to 2009 with obesity prevention content is encouraging, as is the enactment rate of these bills.”

Eyler, Army et al. “Patterns and predictions of state childhood obesity legislation in United States: 2006-2009.” American Journal of Public health 102.12 (2012): 2298. Print.

Paraphrase Note Card:

According to Eyler et al, the period 2006-2008 has been characterized by tremendous efforts by the US government to publish many bills that specifically touch on the issue of obesity. The findings indicate that the earlier on observed obesity trend in the US will be changing with time with fewer reports of obesity cases.

Eyler, Army et al. “Patterns and predictions of state childhood obesity legislation in United States: 2006-2009.” American Journal of Public health 102.12 (2012): 2298. Print.

Note Card II

Summary Note Card:

Despite the many efforts put in place to fight obesity, it is alarming to find out how obesity prevalence is rising in the UK and the US specifically among children and adolescents.

This revelation indicates that the current strategies used to fight the disease do not have a well-crafted message to persuade the children and adolescents to change their eating habits and or engage in strenuous activities to help rid themselves of the many useless calories whose accumulation has led to their obese nature. Hence, there is room for more studies on the best strategies to use to reach the affected children and adolescent if at all eliminating obesity is the goal of both the UK and the US.

Riley, John. “Childhood obesity: An overview.” Children & Society 21.5 (2007): 390-396. Print.

Quotation Note Card:

“Successful prevention of obesity in future will require good examples or models of interventions which have achieved objectively measured and sustained behavior change”

Riley, John. “Childhood obesity: An overview.” Children & Society 21.5 (2007): 395. Print.

Paraphrase Note Card:

Due to the observed failure of the current strategies to help the obese children and adolescents, there has been a call for future research to incorporate interventions that will have the capacity to alter the observed high rates of obesity among the US and the UK children and adolescents.

Riley, John. “Childhood obesity: An overview.” Children & Society 21.5 (2007): 395. Print.

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"Childhood Obesity: Causes/Solutions." IvyPanda, 17 Dec. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-obesity-causes-solutions/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "Childhood Obesity: Causes/Solutions." December 17, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/childhood-obesity-causes-solutions/.


IvyPanda. (2018) 'Childhood Obesity: Causes/Solutions'. 17 December.

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