It is always a known truth that parents want what is best for their children. In the hopes that they are able to attend to the needs of their kids, which include food, shelter, clothing, and education among many others, they do not monitor the frequency and the impact of the attention that they give them. The parents are the ones that mold the child’s environment; they plan the child’s future activities and teach the child their values that they would carry on until they start their own families (Lindsay et al, 2006).
The parents may not be aware of the effect of their child-rearing skills and the consequences of this in relation to the child’s overall wellbeing. Unfortunately, the grave problem that can arise from this is what they choose to ignore the most, their child’s health. Studies show that the prevalence of obesity in children have increased since 1976 from only five percent to twelve in children less than five years old, from six percent to seventeen percent in those aged 6 to 11 and from five percent to seventeen percent in the adolescent age bracket (Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, 2008).
Obesity is defined as an excess of body fat, albeit the exact parameters vary per country (Dehghan et al, 2005). The impact of suffering from obesity in children has been prevalent but the consequences are only beginning to create awareness not only to the child, but to the parents as well. Some of the health-related consequences of obesity in children include hypertension, polycystic ovary disease, premature indications of artery hardening, diabetes mellitus type 2, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and difficult breathing while asleep (Daniels, 2006).
Obesity has grave consequences to the child’s health, as the diseases aforementioned should normally be apparent to them in the next decades of their lives and not while they are still mastering the multiplication table at the age of nine. Obesity is a consequence of a lifestyle problem and fortunately, it is modifiable. The parents are the ones who have to act on this issue and help their children steer clear of becoming overweight or obese.
The extent of obesity can be measured with the use of the body mass index or the BMI. BMI is calculated by dividing the individual’s weight by their height in meters squared (Anderson & Butcher, 2006). The resulting BMI would then have to be checked for the corresponding ranges of underweight, normal, overweight, and obese. There is no one cause for obesity in children, but mostly, the parents are the ones responsible for such and they are the ones who can help their children overcome this.
Anderson and Butcher (2006) enumerate several known causes of obesity and most of them can be attributed to how the parents raise their children. Weight is gained when the energy intake exceeds the energy used. The consumption of fast-food meals, soft drinks, and snacks has been studied and are correlated to an increase in weight in children. Sedentary activities including television watching, watching videos, playing video games, and computer use, is also being pinpointed as a cause for overweight in children.
Technology, and the frequent utilization of vehicles for travel lessens bike riding and walking in going to school, hence, less physical activities. The focus on academics in schools has also lessened time for physical education classes. Some studies claimed that the intensity of the mother’s work could also affect the child’s eating habits. Parental supervision of the child’s activities, the food choices of the parents, the appliances that the parents purchase, and the genetic makeup of the parents all have an effect on the child’s weight problems.