What goes through your mind when you see an overweight child? Not just a child who has chubby cheeks and will probably grow out of them in a year. But a kid who prompts you to think, “that kid is going to have a really rough life.”
It’s not a pleasant thought to think someone will probably be overweight his or her whole life, but that is the reality of child obesity.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as of 2010, 18 percent of children in America aged 6-11 were obese. That is a staggering number.
Who is at fault for this? The parents, the media, perhaps even the children themselves? While it may seem like a cop out just to blame the parents, the fact is that the parents are the ones who are feeding their children.
Therefore, if a child is obese, it is almost always a direct result of what they are eating.
“When it comes to being healthy, 80 percent of it is nutrition, the other 20 percent is fitness,” said Mark Glesne, CLU fitness boot camp instructor.
Besides being overweight, there are a number of health issues that obese children face that healthy children do not. An obese child is more likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, making them more susceptible to early heart attacks.
Obese children are also more likely to get type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The health risks go on and on. Not to mention the constant bullying that the kids are subjected to.
“Parents have to take responsibility. We are the ones setting out the lifestyle choices for our children,” said Louise Kelly, who has a doctorate in pediatric exercise science.
We live in a world where we want things immediately and we want things cheap. We get what we want when we want it. Junk food and fast food are very much parts of that culture.
It’s so easy after a long day to just pick up McDonalds or a pizza to bring home to the family. Staying healthy fights this concept to the extreme.
It is no secret eating healthy is the more expensive and time consuming option, but the benefits to you and your child are second to none.
In the long run, your child will be better off if you and your family choose to live a healthy lifestyle.
Organizations such as Let’s Move, which was started by first lady Michelle Obama and the NFL’s Play 60 can help bring light to the issue of child obesity.
Senior Kersti Uthus, an exercise science major, believes these are helpful organizations.
“I think they are on the right track. It is the first step but it is a long journey,” Uthus said.
The reality is parents with obese children need to step up to the plate (pun intended) if they want to tackle this issue. Set a good example for your kids.
Parents need to be aware of what foods are good for children and what is bad. It is their responsibility to be informed consumers and make conscious lifestyle choices that will benefit children.
“If we [parents] can provide a correct, healthy trajectory for children, they will continue on that trajectory for the rest of their lives,” Kelly said.
Published Feb. 12, 2014