What do you think when you see an overweight child? Do you blame the child for not getting enough physical activity or eating the right foods, or do you blame the parents for not properly monitoring what the child consumes or how he or she spends their free time? It is easy to judge overweight people when you see them. It is still seen as socially unacceptable in our appearance-based society today. Perhaps, before rushing to place all the blame on the child or the family, ask yourself if maybe outside factors are playing a role in this rising epidemic.
Causes of Obesity
Children become overweight and obese for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are lack of physical activity, genetic factors, and unhealthy eating patterns. Only in rare cases is being obese caused by a medical condition such as a hormonal problem. Although weight problems run in families, not all children with a family background of obesity will be overweight. Children whose parents or siblings are overweight may be at an increased risk of becoming overweight themselves, but this can be associated with common family behaviors such as eating large portions and no outdoor activity habits.
A child's total diet and activity level play an important role in determining a child's weight. Today, many children spend a lot time being inactive. For example, the average child spends about four hours each day watching television (WEBmd). As computers and video games become increasingly popular, the number of hours of inactivity may increase greatly. About 55 million school-aged children are enrolled in schools across the United States, and many eat there on a daily basis. Yet, more than half of U.S. elementary and middle schools still offer sugary drinks and less healthy foods for purchase. Students have access to sugary drinks and less healthy foods at school throughout the day from vending machines and school canteens and at fundraising events, school parties, and sporting...