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Childhood Obesity

In: English and Literature

Submitted By Jayla2006
Words 2451
Pages 10
Are Entertainment Media Devices Making Our Children Obese?
English 122

Over the last thirty years obesity is becoming a major threat to the youth of America. “Obesity now affects seventeen percent of all children and adolescents in the United States- triple the rate from just one generation ago, states the Center for Disease Control and Prevention” ( CDC.2012 par.1). Obesity is an excessive accumulation of fat causing a person to become overweight. Childhood obesity is a medical condition that affects young children and adolescents. Children are no longer playing outside like riding bikes or playing hide and seek as they did generations ago. However the children of this generation are sitting on the couch being entertained from media devices. The American Medical Association states that, “One of the reasons American children and adolescent gain weight over the generation is that children expend significantly less energy than their parents and grandparents did at their age” (Green, G. Riley, Hargrove, C. pg. 915-920). The children of today do not have to leave their family room to find entertainment instead they stay in the house to watch television, play video games, and play on the computer. Doing these activities for hours and not getting the recommend sixty minutes per day is extremely unhealthy for the children of today and this is the major reason why so many children are obese. I will prove in this paper that childhood obesity is a growing epidemic because today’s youth are not staying active and playing outside however they are sitting on the couch using an entertainment media device. The Center of Diseases and Control states that, “Children eight through eighteen years of age spend an average of 7.5 hours a day using an entertainment media including television, computers, video games, cell phones, and movies” (CDC 2012 par.12). This shows the new trend that children do not have to go outside to interact with their friends however can talk to them online or by cellphone while eating a bag of potatoes chips. These entertainment media devices are making children today extremely lazy and not active. The television is the number one reason that keeps children in the house instead of going outside to play. The Kaiser Family Foundation states that, “kids ages eight-eighteen years now spend 4.5 hours each day watching television” (Rideout, V., Roberts, D. 2010 pg.11). Doing this is extremely unhealthy to children and adolescents because they are not staying active. Television has consumed society that a vast number of children watch it while falling asleep, reading, socializing, and eating. Snaking and watching the television is very unhealthy because that’s when children tend to over eat. The problem with this is that when children are eating and doing another activity children tend to over eat because they are not paying attention to what they already have eaten. Children are watching so many hours of television and are not engaged in physical activities which could keep their weight down and calories burned. Furthermore, children are eating high calorie and high fat foods while watching the television. This is a major problem because children are eating more calories while lounging around, an obvious cause of weight gain. Children are also exposed to many food advertisements that show them unhealthy food choices. Advertisers target children because they are easy prey and can manipulate their parents into giving them what they want. Most Advertisers use cartoon characters to get the attention of children. In July the Federal Trade Commission released a report that stated “marketers spent 1.6 billion in 2006 targeting children under the age of twelve and adolescents twelve to seventeen years old” ( Cebrzynski, G. 2008 pg.16 par.5) Food advertisers invest so much money yearly in these commercials because they know that these commercials will appeal to children. On a typical day, children from two to seven are exposed to 4:51 minutes of food commercials. Kid’s eight to twelve see 8:21 minutes and those thirteen to seventeen see 6:43 minutes of food commercials ( Dolliver, M. 2007 pg.38). Children with a television in their bedroom are more vulnerable to seeing more advertisements of unhealthy foods and beverages; since these children watch even more television. Clearly, children are being victimized by these food advertisers.
Videos games are a big factor in children becoming obese. The first video game was invented in 1958 by William Higinbotham. The game was called “Tennis for Two”, was created and played on a Brookhaven National Laboratory Oscilloscope. Then in 1962, Steve Russell invented “Space War’, which was the first game intended for computer use. In 1967, Ralph Baer wrote the first video game played on a television set; the game was called “Chase”. Later in 1972 Ralph Baer designed the first commercial video game console that could be played in the home. In 1989 the first Nintendo video game system came out that has dramatically change children’s pattern. Children are not exercising their legs and arms anymore but only are exercising their hands by using a controller playing a video game. Every year since 1958 video games are improving and it is making it more difficult to get children off the couch. In 2012 there are also many more video games for children to play with the latest systems out like Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, Nintendo DS, and the Nintendo Wii. These video game systems have gone beyond just playing a game but are actually more like a computer. Now children are able to sit in their family room and play a game online with their friend anywhere around the world. This video game is capable of storing music and videos on the game console. The players on the games look like actual people which make these children very addicted to playing. The new video games are even more dangerous because children are able to have interaction with their friends without getting up from the couch to play with them.
Before video games were around, children were staying busy by playing outside. Riding bikes, playing soccer, and playing tag for entertainment. This was the normal thing for children to do on their free time. Back in the day parents would put their children on punishment by not letting them go outside to play. Today parents punish their children by taking away what is most important to their children video games, television, and the computer. With the growing popularity of these entertainment devices, kids are becoming less active, and obesity is growing. It seems like the childhood obesity problem would be resolve if children started to play outside like children use to many generation ago.
This is a very serious problem because these obese children are getting health problem a lot early in their life. These children are at a greater risk of contracting high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, and non-alcoholic fatty liver diseases. The reason of the connection with obesity and high blood pressure is not known, but the association is caused by the increase blood volume. Diabetes is the second major health problem dealing with obesity. Sleep apnea is another condition that threated obese children. While children are sleeping their breathing is interrupted which can cause death. Sleep apnea can lead to problems with learning and memory. Freeman states that, “ nearly 60% of overweight children had at least one cardiovascular risk factor compared to 10 percent of those children with body mass index for their age and 25 percent of overweight children had two or more risk factors” (Freedman, DS, 1999 par.4). This is a critical problem that affects these children’s quality of life.
Canadian study states “Obesity not only harms a child’s body, but it also causes significant psychological damage to children as young as ten years old” ( Kirkey, S. 2009 par.1). These children are more likely to have low self-esteem. Children that suffer from this have increase chances of feeling sadness, anxiety, loneliness, and depression. These children are normally withdrawn from children their age. In some cases these children are teased and even bully by their peers because they look different. As time goes on some children might turn to drugs and alcohol to help deal with the pain. In some cases they might even commit suicide because they are in severe pain. Without any doubt, obese children deal with many issues that children should not have to deal with.
There are some things that obese children can do to protect themselves from these serious illnesses. Eating properly is a great start. Also eating more raw fruits and vegetables will help too. Portioning out foods at every meal time and drinking the eight to twelve ounces of water are sure ways of a healthy diet. Children have to stop eating foods with high calories and high fat because it is unhealthy for their diet. Parents should also limit their children’s carbohydrates intake daily because this is not healthy for children either. Carbohydrates prevent fat breakdown and drive fat into fat deposits, causing fat to accumulate, which is another reason way obesity occurs. Parents have to get educated to know the proper foods that their children should eat. Children also have to stop eating and sitting down and not being active. Eating properly can prevent obesity.
Parents have to limit the time daily that their children play and watch these entertainment media devices. Eliminating the television from the bedroom will reduce overall screen time and may help to limit nighttime media use that may interfere with children’s sleep. Turning off the television while eating will help disconnect food from television viewing. It will also help children to be aware of the food that they are consuming. Parents should also limit the time daily that their child is allow to play video games daily. A great start for parents would be to only allow their children to play video games for thirty minutes a day. Parents play such a vital role in their children’s activities, and it is they who need to get their kids more involved with physical activities and less time on the couch. The best way to do this is by setting a good example is getting physically active with children. The first way they can get their children physically active is by encouraging their children to go outside daily. Take bike rides, swim, or even take walks with children. This will also be helpful to children because they are spending quality time with their parents. It is a norm with the parents of today spending what they considered quality time with their children watching the television. Physical activity should be fun and make children feel good, not a chore they must do to lose weight.
Childhood obesity is not a problem that is easily solved. Parents have to start making major changes in their family’s lifestyle to solve this problem. If the childhood obesity rates continue to rise our youth are going to be in serious trouble. Parents have to start to take control of their households before their children have serious health problems. The government also needs to step in and stop letting these food advertisers prey on the children and adolescents. It should be a law that for the children’s programs that come on the television advertisers are only allowed to show commercials for healthy food products that children would enjoy eating. This would definitely help stop children and adolescents consuming all of these high calories foods.
In conclusion, the research and the statics that were presented in this paper will concur with the argument that children are not exercising and playing outside anymore but are sitting down playing with these entertainment devices. Parents most limited the time daily that their children are spending watching the television, playing video games, and on the computer. Parents also need to start encouraging their children to play outside as children did generations ago. If parents started to do these things for their children’s health, then the number of obese children in America would start decreasing. Obesity is a hard cycle to break, but if parents stop letting entertainment devices run their children’s life and have them increased physical activity, then the outcome can be reverse and children can start to live happy, healthy lives.
Ashford Library is a great place to collect data for academic papers because all of their authors have the degrees and crendials to write about the topics. The Ashford University staff has approved all of the journals, magazine, and newspaper articles in their databases. It is also helpful to use their library because everything that is needed for citing the article is on the page too. The Center for Diseases Control is also another reliable source to collect information. This is the government website so there is a lot of statistics and data that will be helpful in an academic paper. This source also has up to date information that is useful when writing papers. The statistics and articles that was researched for this academic paper agree with the argument that children are not staying physically active, but are entertaining themselves with media devices and that’s what is making them obese. Many articles that that were found state that parents need to limit the time of their children daily on the computer, video games, and the television; by parents doing this easy task that will help reduce the risk of obesity in their children. The articles are also stating that children need at least sixty minutes daily doing an exercise activity.

Reference
Rideout, V and Roberts, D. ( 2010)MEDIA IN THE LIVES OF 8-18 OLD pg.11 A Kaiser Family Foundation Menlo Park, CA
Green G., Riley, C. and Hargrove, B. (2012) PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND CHILDHOOD OBESITY: STRATEGIES AND SOLUTIONS FOR SCHOOL AND PARENTS. Education Summer 2012; Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, Ma
Warren, J. and Stettler, N. (2004) OBESITY RESEARCH. VIDEO GAMES, TV DOUBLE CHILDHOOD OBESITY RISK. MD
Freedman, D., Dietz, W. and Srinivasan, S. THE RELATION OF OVERWEIGHT TO CARDIOVASULAR RISK FACTORS AMONG CHILDREN AND ADOLESCENTS. American Academy of Pediatrics 1999; 103 Elk GroveVillage, IL
Center for Disease Control and Prevention April 2012 . Atlanta, GA www.cdc.gov/obseity/childhood/problem.html Cebrynski, G. (2008) Food Marketers Spend Less Than Previously though to Target Kids, Buy it still Much for Many Critics’. Nation’s Restaurant News
Dolliver, M. (2007) Examining Kid’s Heavy Consumption of Television Advertising for Food
Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation (2004) The Role of Media in Childhood Obesity. Retrieved KFF. Orglentme…d-obesity.pdf
Kirkey, S. (2009) Childhood Obesity Underpins Low Self- Esteem, Study Finds. Informart, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

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