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The Influence of Obesogenic Environment on The Rise of Child Obesity in The United States

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“The obesity rate in children has nearly tripled since 1963. This scary statistic is a major problem for the American population. Not only are the kids becoming unhealthier, they’re growing up to become unhealthy adults” (Blank 3). In this quote, it talks about child obesity and how it tripled over the years. Child obesity is a serious matter in America today and should be taken very seriously. Who should be responsible for child obesity? Many people, including parents and children, are pointing fingers at fast food restaurants, genetics, technology, their parents and even the children themselves All of these accusations, however, are incorrect. Rather than blaming the children for being obese, we should be placing the blame on the obesogenic environment.

Before analyzing child obesity in America, some understanding of obesogenic environment is necessary. Obesogenic environment refers to “an environment that promotes gaining weight and one that is not conducive to weight loss” (Swinburn 1999). In other words, obesogenic environment encourages children to eat unhealthy and discourages them from being physically active. This obesogenic environment is harmful to the health of children in our society and it must be stopped.

Portion size plays a large role in the obesogenic environment. Over 50 years ago, food portions were much smaller. According to the essay “Supersize Me: It’s Time To Stop Blaming Fat People for Their Size” in Models for Writers, “the original 1960’s McDonald’s meal of a hamburger, fries and a twelve-ounce coke contained about 590 calories. But today, a quarter-pounder with cheese and supersized fries and coke-a meal that same kids consider an after-school snack-racks up a whopping 1550 calories” (Motluk 563). An individual is only supposed to consume about 2,000 calories per day, which means that one McDonald’s meal is nearly equivalent to one person’s entire caloric intake for the day. As a result, restaurants end up competing with one another for the biggest portion size. Each fast food restaurant’s philosophy is bigger is better. Their menu board screams, “king-sized burgers, fries and drinks!” In promoting that bigger is always better, children constantly want king-sized meals and will fight their parents until they get one. Having fast food restaurants all around, children are going to want to eat their everyday.

Another contributing factor to the obesogenic environment is the lack of physical activity in school. Alison Motluk, stated, “one-third of U.S. secondary-school students fail to get enough physical activity and over a tenth get none at all…” (563). This quote, from Motluck’s essay, is important because without recess children are not getting the exercise necessary to burn calories or lose body fat. When children simply sit at their desk and listen to their teachers all day children are not given time to socialize with their friends outside of the classroom, get exercise, or have a break from their school work. Lack of physical activity in school is a serious matter for children, especially if they are obese. Not only does staying active help children lose weight, but it can also lower their risk for heart disease, elevate their mood, reduces stress, and much more. Despite its many benefits, several schools throughout America are cancelling recess to concentrate more on academics. While academics are extremely important, getting the proper exercise is also equally important. Recess must be a part of the school day. Both students and teachers need a break throughout the day. It is during these breaks that allow our bodies and minds a chance to repair and recharge.

Finally, foods higher in fats are more easily obtained. Martin Blink, a psychologist at Duke University, said “calorie-dense foods are far more readily available than ever before.” Not only are unhealthy foods readily available, but healthier foods are difficult to find, more expensive and they take longer to prepare. Unlike healthy foods, unhealthy foods are already made, easy to obtain, and cheaper. In our world, today, we mostly live on fast food. Most television advertisements promote unhealthy foods. Families that have single parents who work full time or take care of their children do not have the time for meal preparation, so they go to fast food restaurants. Children then grow up being used to eating fast food. This then becomes their number one choice for food consumption. Growing up in an obesogenic environment is very dangerous for children, as their choices are often influenced by their environment.

One solution to changing the obesogenic environment is to serve children the correct serving size. When it comes to portion size and serving size, children do not understand the difference between the two. Portion size is in a person’s control. It is how much food an individual chooses to eat at one time. Serving size, however, is the amount of food listed on a product’s Nutrition Facts Label. In order to find the correct serving size of a particular food, children will need guidance from their parents. 

Since middle and secondary schools are set on not having recess, an alternative would be to have parents encourage their children to be active outside of school. This can be achieved in many different ways. For example, they can get them involved in a recreational sport such as volleyball or basketball. Not only will playing a sport improve their health, but it will also help further develop their social skills, build confidence and self-esteem, and it could become a lifelong interest. If, however, your child is not into sports, there are several other ways to get your child active such as walking, riding a bike, or swimming. Any form of exercise that will keep them moving will be beneficial.

In conclusion, the obesogenic environment is to blame for the large amount of obesity in children today. The obesogenic environment not only allows, but encourages fast food restaurants to serve king-sized meals in order to help get children across America to buy their food. It also allows schools to eliminate recess, giving children no chance to be physically active throughout the day. Lastly, it allows unhealthy foods easily attainable in grocery stores, restaurants and even through advertisements. Americans are living in an environment that promotes gaining weight and that ignores the importance of exercise. Until this environment is changed, obesity will continue to be a large issue worldwide, especially in children.

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The Influence of Obesogenic Environment on the Rise of Child Obesity in the United States. (2018, July 17). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 5, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-influence-of-obesogenic-environment-on-the-rise-of-child-obesity-in-the-united-states/
“The Influence of Obesogenic Environment on the Rise of Child Obesity in the United States.” GradesFixer, 17 Jul. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-influence-of-obesogenic-environment-on-the-rise-of-child-obesity-in-the-united-states/
The Influence of Obesogenic Environment on the Rise of Child Obesity in the United States. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-influence-of-obesogenic-environment-on-the-rise-of-child-obesity-in-the-united-states/> [Accessed 5 Oct. 2022].
The Influence of Obesogenic Environment on the Rise of Child Obesity in the United States [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Jul 17 [cited 2022 Oct 5]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-influence-of-obesogenic-environment-on-the-rise-of-child-obesity-in-the-united-states/
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