Social Factors And Childhood Obeisity

540 words - 3 pages

What social factors have led to the increase in childhood obesity in America?In recent history, the percentage of childhood obesity in America has increased dramatically. This is due in part to the socialization of the children. One of the main sources of socialization are the parents. Parents control food availability and influence eating habits. They also have a direct role in influencing physical activity practices and fitness levels. Because of changes in the family structure, children are more likely to experience disrupted family life than previous generations. For example, today's children are more likely to live in divorced or single-parent households with fewer siblings, have parents who work, and spend time either alone or in day care. This absence ...view middle of the document...

Childhood obesity is a direct reflection of the adult problem. Children who grew up in households with obese parents are more likely to be overweight than children who grew up with healthy parents.Another major factor in socialization of children is the media. Children tend to be exposed to more television, internet, video games, radio, magazines, music, and billboards than adults. This constant stream of images and ideas influence children's thoughts, habits, and lifestyles. Food is the most commonly advertised product during children television viewing hours. A majority of these commercials feature high-fat, high-sugar, non-nutritious foods which increases the children's likelihood to want to eat these unhealthy treats. There is a direct correlation between time a child spends watching television to the intake of fatty, sugary foods. Children consume a large portion of their daily calories at school. Schools are important at influencing the development of children. Not only does it effect academic and social development, but it significantly can effect eating habits and physical activity levels. Schools are more concerned with standardized testing than health education, physical education, and overall physical development. Children do not get enough exercise through PE programs. Because of this, children do not feel the importance of exercise and it does not become a part of their social habits. Children who do not have parents who advocate the importance of exercise and who do not get enough exercise in PE class will not develop any exercise tendencies. This coupled with poor eating habits that they have been moulded to lead to obese children who grow up to have children of their own and pass on a culture of unhealthy habits leading to even more obesity.


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