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The Roles of Parents, Schools, and the Media in Child Obesity

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Humans have progressed in life with new inventions and technology. However, a problem that tends to meet many communities is child obesity. Obesity in children is a medical condition that affects children and adolescents as 60% of children in Canada are obese. Parents, school, and the lack of physical activity all are key contributors to children becoming obese, leading them to suffer physically and mentally. Childhood obesity in Canada has become an epidemic, and essentially a growing disease. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than tripled. This brings us to the focus of how obesity in childhood has become a huge issue today. To understand the impact of obesity, and why we should avoid it, there are many causes and contributions to obesity. However as children get older, it becomes harder to fight obesity. In this essay, I will be discussing the roles of parents, schools, and the media in their contributions to childhood obesity.

“Childhood obesity is started at home and is best tackled at home through improved parental involvement increased physical exercise and better diet,” was once said by a famous philosopher Bob Filner. This quote refers to how children often see their parents as role models as many young children want to be just like their mom or dad. Though this may sound pleasant, it is not always good. Nobody is perfect, which means kids pick up on good and bad habits their parents possess. Furthermore, this relates to childhood obesity because children tend to eat what their parents are eating. Researchers found that if parents eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables daily, their children are likely to do so as well. Contrary to this, parents who eat fast food, or drink soda, tend to affect their children. Statistics show that a child whose parents drink soda daily is nearly 40 percent more likely to drink soda daily themselves, than a child whose parents do not drink soda. Furthermore, parents’ bad habits are not the only contribution to childhood obesity. Many parents have busy lives working hard long hours in a day for the better future for their kids. This results into parents not paying much attention to their kids which often leads to not serving the children proper food. Due to this, parents buy kids fast food because they are too lazy to cook for their children. However, this is not the only reason obesity amongst children is an issue.

Similar to parents, schools play a great role in the issue of child obesity. Schools around the world serve food in cafeterias for breakfast and lunch. However, it shows in several studies that schools sell unhealthy foods that are popular between students, making many schools an essential source of income. Schools are to blame for the growing numbers of obese children since children consume 50% of their daily food intake from school, which often mean 50% of the food’s kids eating on days attending school is unhealthy and leading causing the increase of childhood obesity. Furthermore, cafeteria food is often mass produced and cheap, costing the school $1.30 for each child, the cheap food contains high levels of sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates. Students are eating school lunches over 30 million, and 14 million is eating school breakfasts. Thirty percent of high schools benefit from the sale of competitive food generated more than $ 125,000 per school. As we all know, diet is an important part of everyone’s lives. Considering children are at school for a third of their day, food is essential to keep their minds sharp. Schools must pay more attention when it comes to watching the diets of students. For this reason, schools play a key factor in the role of obesity amongst children today.

In addition to these, fast food restaurants and media play one of the greatest roles in the increase of childhood obesity. Fast food outlets spend millions of dollars in television ads targeted to children. Recently, there has been an increasingly wide variety of food merchandise sold to children in pass-merchandising with famous TV and movie characters. A few examples of this include marshmallow cereal, SpongeBob Cheez-its, and Scooby-Doo. Fast food eating places also uses pass-promotion with media characters for children frequently. In line with McDonald’s and Disney, happy meals consist of toys from pinnacle Disney films. Happy meals include toys from popular Disney indicates with figures of Ironman movement or princess doll’s aimed for both young boys and girls. One study has shown one in six meal’s commercials geared toward youth promise a loose toy. Many advertisements additionally use cool animated film characters to sell merchandise to youngsters, which research has proven to work in focused on kids. Also, the food that is served at these fast food restaurants is mainly artificially created with high calories and unhealthy nutrients, contributing to the increase in childhood obesity. Children who are obese face many challenges in everyday life. Many obese kids are affected both physically and mentally. Kids with obesity have trouble keeping up with children who are not. When kids are out during lunch, or at parks after school, playing sports , obese kids have a harder time running and being able to play with other kids. Due to the facts that they are not receiving good nutrients for energy instead eating fatty foods adding to their weight making it hard for them to participate in physical activity. Many obese kids are constantly affected by bullying. Obese children often face verbal bullying, which is the most common type of bullying towards obese children, including hurtful comments and name calling in school. In this article, it shows proof of the problem, with statistics discussing a national survey of obese sixth graders, 24 percent of boys and 30 percent of girls experience verbal form of bullying daily.

In conclusion parents, schools, and media has a great influence on the increase of childhood obesity. Parents are not paying attention to what their kids are eating and often are influencing bad habits to their kids. Most schools are using cafeteria food to generate income by serving cheap unhealthy foods to maximize their profits, which really affect kids because 50% of their daily food intake is from school which is unhealthy, leading to an increase of childhood obesity also media. Fast food restaurants play the greatest role increasing of child obesity children are targeted through television to go too fast food restaurants such as McDonald’s. With the new wave of technology swarming the younger generation, advertisements are brainwashing children to purchase unhealthy food. All in all, I strongly believe the issue of obesity is not properly being addressed by the government so we should work together to help tackle this issue.

After researching the effects of childhood obesity, we must consider the possible future of it. Childhood obesity is expanding at alarming rates and will continue to do so until we create change. There are countless negative repercussions from childhood obesity therefore without attempting to stop this, future generations will be affected greatly. I strongly believe the government should invest more money into sports programs for children. Getting children to become active at a young age allows them to excel in the future. Studies show children that are active are more likely to become active adults. Frequent physical activity has also shown improved behaviour from children in the classroom. With the mass effect of technology, children have become consumed by the online world. This has resulted in children becoming more lazy and less active. Getting children involved in sports will keep them healthy and active, which is an important part of every kid’s childhood. If we focus on the health of our future generations, I believe we can create the positive change we need.


  1. Public Health Agency of Canada. (2018, January 25). Tackling Obesity in Canada: Obesity and Excess Weight Rates in Canadian Adults. Retrieved from
  2. Bob Filner Quotes. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Staff, L. S. (2009, February 09). Parents Blamed for Childhood Obesity. Retrieved from
  4. Government of Canada, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. (2019, February 20). Bullying and Cyberbullying. Retrieved from

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