Obesity in children is a major public health concern despite continued silence of teachers and parents. It is a well known fact that obesity is responsible for numerous deaths among adults and many other health problems. In public discussion forums and elsewhere childhood obesity goes unnoticed very often.
We will write a custom Essay on The Socio Economic Implications of Childhood Obesity and Control Strategies specifically for you
301 certified writers online
In children, obesity can lead to health complications such as diabetes, heart diseases, mental disorders, orthopedic complications, low self esteem, poor school grades to name but a few. Adverse short and long term health and psychosocial problems are frequently experienced by obese children.
These children are more likely to suffer from various weight related illnesses, early death, isolation, and poor income in their adult lives. A large number of children who become obese in their adult life may become a burden to taxpayers because of increased government expenditure on healthcare services. This is a clear indication that control of obesity in children should be emphasized on more than in adults, since it is a predictor of the adulthood obesity.
Control of diabetes in children can be a complicated issue. In the short term, savings could be made through prevention of obesity and health promotion efforts. It is well known that by promoting healthier lifestyles among children, their health could be improved and lead to a more prolonged life.
The costs spent to treat medical complications will go down since children will be healthier; however, this is only in the short term. It is a proven fact that such children though living longer, can develop diseases such as dementia and others in the long term at some points in their later lives as a result of costly and frequently used care. Thus, though their lives are prolonged, other costs which are often higher are incurred in the treatment of the resultant diseases.
Childhood obesity can be caused by several factors. The child’s family background determines the kind of eating habits for that child, thus, unhealthy eating habits of a family can result into a child’s obesity. Education level, family structure and social economic status are another risk factor. In opulent countries like the United States, obesity frequently occurs among people from lower socio-economic status.
On the other hand, in developing countries, obesity occurs often in affluent families. In families with high socioeconomic status, children tend to make healthier food choices. A child can also become obese if both or even one of the parents suffers from obesity due to genetic factors. Such parents not only determine the weight of their children through their genetic make up, but also through their behaviors’ that also contribute to their condition.
Parents’ attitudes towards some food choices and feeding habits can also contribute to childhood obesity. Socioeconomic and cultural background determines nutritional or personal values associated by a parent with some types of food (Gillies, 2008, 99).
After several months of spoon feeding, the density of the food and energy requirements of an infant will determine his or her subsequent food intake. With time, the child loses control on the amount of food intake and instead he or she relies on external stimuli to control food intake. Frequency and environment of family meals is another risk factor.
School is the first place from where the control of the child obesity can begin. Anomalies in eating habits among children can be gradually corrected by giving them at least one healthy meal a day in line with most schools policies followed by offering a comprehensive health education. The best strategy to combat obesity is through prevention, as treating co diseases can be very expensive.
This can be achieved by providing a child with proper emotional and social environmental factors that focus on high quality diet at home and school. A child should be complimented and rewarded each time he or she makes appropriate food choice. Simple routines like switching off television during meals should be encouraged.
Nutrition education in schools should be allocated frequently in order to ensure that long term positive effects are achieved. School meals should be regulated to ensure that culture of proper food habits is inculcated in schoolchildren. Food from such sources as vending machines, cafeterias, tuck shops etc, that can be found in schools should be scrutinized to ensure they do not engage in practices that undermine dietary message about the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles being taught to children at school.
The alternative food establishments within the school have the potential of providing children with unhealthy food full of sugar, fat and energy instead of supplying healthy food stuffs such as fruits, milk and vegetables.
Physical education among children should be strictly supervised. Physical education provides most school going children, especially a majority of those who are driven to school, with an opportunity to engage in vigorous or moderate physical activity. The school curriculum should be amended to allow for mandatory supervised lunch time and after school sport activities. The physical activities should be well planed and coordinated with the help of competent sport professionals to suit special group of students.
Get your first paper with 15% OFF
These activities can be organized in form of sport clubs. This will not only boost children’s health, but also increase self esteem among the obese thereby improving their performance as cases of isolation will be controlled. The government can designate special routes where only school going children will be allowed to cycle or walk to school, moreover, children should be encouraged to participate more in outdoor activities and spend less time playing video games, computer games or watching television.
In neighborhoods where people of low socioeconomic status reside, there is a general lack of appropriate environment where children can engage in physical activities. The irony of this is that where most of residents walk or cycle while going to work, it is highly unlikely for them to walk, cycle or engage in any physical sporting activity during leisure time (Gillies, 2008, 100).
This tends to send wrong message to children from such neighborhoods regarding sporting activities. The modification of physical environment in such neighborhoods together with enactment of strategies addressing environmental, individual and social determinants of physical activity and diet can help solve the problem in the long term.
Gillies, Pete. “Effectiveness of alliances and partnerships for health promotion.” Health Promotion International 5 Oct. 2008: 99–120. Print.