Childhood Obesity in the USA – Child Development Example

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"Childhood Obesity in the USA" is a remarkable example of a paper on child development. Obesity is one of the most common problems for children in the USA. In the 1980s, only about 13% of the children were obese. In 2012, about 35% of the population falling between 6 and 11 years of age were found overweight or obese. It  is a very concerning issue for the US Department of Health and Human Services that plans to reduce this percentage in the near future. The US Department of Health and Human Services published a guideline in 2008 that is known as the 2008 Physical Activities Guideline for the Americans.

The guideline also contained ‘ Active children and Adolescents’ physical needs that were to be followed by schools throughout the nation. These guidelines for children were to be followed by parents at home and teachers in schools. They contained the diet that children were supposed to take in at schools and home and also the physical exercises that were compulsory for them in order to avoid obesity (Constantini, 2013). In order to make students practice physical exercise in schools, it is mandatory for the US Department of Health and Human Services to  ensure that the schools are following the guidelines by creating awareness, providing training material, and detailed time tables to schools (Constantini, 2013). The most important thing highlighted by the US Department of Health and Human Services is a healthy diet that should be maintained at all costs so that children do not become overweight.

A complete food diet must be followed consisting of at least 3 to 4 meals every day (Constantini, 2013). The diet should contain eggs and milk with bread in the morning.

It could also be taken with cereals. It is the role of mothers to ensure that the child is receiving this diet. In school, the child should have a healthy lunch. It could comprise of home-cooked meat (fish, chicken, etc). It is very important that the child should refrain from junk food from an early age. Food items like Crisp, chocolates, and other confectionary items are addictive and do not bring in the necessary proteins, vitamins, and calcium required by the body (Constantini, 2013).

The US Department of Health and Services focuses on differentiating rich protein food items with fatty protein items. They advise the mothers and teachers to educate themselves about it (Constantini, 2013). These first two meals are very important for a child in his early stages. This is because he spends a good amount of time in school and needs proper attention in order to keep him focused on studies. Normally it is found out that children feel tired and restless just after the morning recess in school.

The reason is that the diet in the recess is not healthy (Constantini, 2013). The diet should include fresh homemade juice rather than the ones that come in bottles. Parents should make sure that the children receive the least artificial products with added preservatives. The afternoon, evening, and night meals should also consist of homemade items like chicken, fish, potato, eggs, cheese, and milk. It is normal that a child would demand sweet products and the best solution is to cook homemade chocolates, brownies, cookies, and whatever he likes (Constantini, 2013). An unhealthy diet leads to many problems.

  Most problems that arise from obesity in children are mixed levels of blood pressure, diabetes, laziness, inefficiency to work, and many psychological problems like depression, bullying in school, and low esteem among peers. These problems are penetrated in more than 60% of children who are obese and are negatively affecting their studies and social life (Garland, Schutz, & Chappell, 2010). The US Department of Health and Services published a guideline so that this problem can be taken care of in the present as well as in the future to avoid major problems and diseases among children.

This guideline contains a complete list of activities that could help in solving much of the problems many obese children face (Cawley & Horan, 2011). However, the responsibilities of making the children follow these activities in schools have been given to schools and it becomes mandatory for them to follow it. In 2012, less than 15% of the schools in the USA were meeting the guidelines of the US Department of Health and Services. More than 40% of the schools were not even making their students do any form of physical exercise (Constantini, 2013).

Not surprisingly, children belonging to this 40% of the schools were victims of obesity and severe weight gain. It  clearly is proof that physical exercises are important in children and helps them reduce the intake of excessive calories (Constantini, 2013). The problem lies with implementing the US Department of Health and Services guidelines for children in school (Kopelman, 2009). There are many ways to do so. Firstly and most importantly, the US Department of Health and Services should try to make more awareness among teachers and students so that they become more participative. The teachers need to be told about the disadvantages associated with a lack of exercise.

About 68% of teachers do not realize that obesity is directly associated with physical exercise (Constantini, 2013). Furthermore, they do not realize that obesity makes children feel lazy in classrooms and makes them inefficient. It  suggests that the teachers completely disregard these types of activities in school. They need to be made aware that some of the children who are not performing well in the class might be because of the lack of physical exercise (Constantini, 2013). Teachers normally display this kind of behavior because the school fails to train them.

The school must make sure that the teachers receive the right kind of information and training to make this activity a success. The US Department of Health and Services must provide training to the schools so that they could further provide training to the teachers (National Association for Sport and Physical Education, 2009). Training necessarily does not have to be done by making personal visits to each and every school in each and every state but the US Department of Health and Services could provide schools with video CDs and exercise books to teach and train them.

Whenever there are any changes made in the activities, CDs and books can be updated and sent back. Most importantly, the US Department of Health and Services should make a complete timetable for the schools so that they could easily follow it. The majority of the schools failing to follow the guidelines were of the opinion that they did not  know how to successfully do it.

They did not know what exercises were required for the students (Gallahue, 2007). The US Department of Health and Services would have to make a one-time effort in making a detailed timetable that would contain the type of exercise and the day it would be followed. An example of this would be. Type of Exercise Age Group Days/week Total Sessions/year Food Supplements Muscle Strengthening 7-9 3 36 None Bone Strengthening 6-7 4 42 Yes Mild Aerobics 10-11 4 42 None   The US Department of Health and Human Services must try and create awareness so that schools and teachers must know the advantages associated with physical exercise.

Other than creating awareness, the department of Health and Services must also provide training to the schools, which can then train their teachers to correctly make children involved in physical activities. There are no problems with the guidelines but the US Department of Health and Human Services must make an effort to provide a timetable with it so that the schools could follow it effectively. In order to make this program succeed, the US Department of Health and Human Services should seriously look to implement these strategies.

References

National Association for Sport and Physical Education. (2009). Physical Education for Lifelong Fitness: The Physical Best Teacher's Guide. Windsor: Human Kinetics.

Cawley, J., & Horan, J. (2011). The Oxford Handbook of the Social Science of Obesity. Chicago: Oxford University Press.

Constantini, N. (2013). Endocrinology of Physical Activity and Sport. New York: Springer Science & Business Media.

Gallahue, D. L. (2007). Developmental Physical Education for All Children. Windsor: Human Kinetics.

Garland, T., Schutz, H., & Chappell, M. A. (2010). The biological control of voluntary exercise, spontaneous physical activity, and daily energy expenditure in relation to obesity: human and rodent perspectives. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 206-229.

Kopelman, P. G. (2009). Clinical Obesity in Adults and Children. Oxford: John Wiley & Sons.

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