May 10, 2018
More Pudge, Less Fudge
Eating food is always a good thing because it ensures our survival. However, overeating is a horrible problem happening in the United States. Obesity in children and adults has been growing rapidly over the years and it is not getting better. Families are deciding to eat fast food instead of making the food at home. Kids, do not have a choice in the matter and stress makes everything sound really good to eat. If we take care of child obesity at an early stage, then we don’t have to worry about it in the future. The question is, how would we get children interested in working out? Alongside Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” campaign, we implement technology into the solution. By helping children before they become obese, this will help America in the future, and future families in the long run.
Obesity is eating too much or not being active enough to lose the weight. Obesity can be linked to anxiety, depression, and most importantly, stress. For children and adults, stress eating is the worst way to gain weight. Almost anything can stress a person out, and consequently, anything sounds good enough to eat when you’re stressed. Being an adult comes with some perks, such as having extra money to spend and even a car. This can make stress eating worse because it makes it easier for an individual to go out to get something fast to eat. Another part of being an adult is having to deal with busy schedules and the idea of not having time to cook makes people want to go out to eat. Summarizing a quote from an exercise scientist Len Kravitz and his colleagues at the University of New Mexico, whenever stress gets chronic, stress hormones are released from adrenaline called cortisol. The cortisol then affects fat storage and weight gain in individuals, enhances fat creation, breaks down tissues, and slows down the immune system, making individuals fat and sick (Cummins). Depression has similar symptoms to stress, but with depression it’s less controllable. Emotions are running rampage and food is a form of coping mechanism that’s always there to help. In regards to helping, there are even some forms of medications that doctors give to try to help that might have side effects that causes a person to gain weight. In the end, the parents are the ones who choose what the family eats, and it is in their best interests to teach kids to eat healthy in and early stage of their lives.
Kids who eat too much usually do not have healthy options to choose from at home and this is a problem that can affect the whole family. But this is often not a problem acknowledged by the family. Statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2004) state that “over 16 percent of children and adolescents from six to 19 years of age are overweight and/or obese. This number has more than tripled since 1981” (Green). More and more children are becoming obese because most of the food they consume is either fast food, or some form of unhealthy snacks. When it is the parent’s decision to choose what to eat, the child rarely has a say in whether they want it or not. Children often times do not think about whether foods are healthy or not. A lot of times, children live with the mentality of “if it tastes good, then I’ll eat it”. It is the parent’s responsibility to guide their children towards a healthy lifestyle, because encouraging this type of behavior when they are younger is the easiest way to get them to like healthy foods. As well, the parent needs to like the food they are giving their kids, once a child understands what is going on, they will start to question things. From Louis Roberts’s journal, quoting Ms Reed from Family Foodworks says, “How many children even see their parents eating vegetables, so why would they expect children to do it?”, exactly why does the child have to eat something that their parents aren’t eating (Roberts).
Having Michelle Obama’s anti-obesity campaign to go off of, obesity is not just specifically a problem of an overweight adult. Kids are also suffering from obesity and are experiencing worse symptoms than many adults. A plan to conquer obesity is to, similar to Michelle Obama’s campaign, get kids to be active, but incorporate technology into the situation. One idea is to create a sort of incentive where the kids receive an electronic 2 or 3 times a year, like an iPhone or tablet, once they’ve walked or ran a certain amount of miles. An example of this is to allow a child to upgrade their phone after they’ve reached a 25 mile benchmark. Kids nowadays want to have the new iphone to be able to show off and fit in at school, so they would do anything to get one. Parents can take advantage of that and have the kid work out or eat healthy to earn the phone. The parent is in charge, and it should be a rule of thumb that parents are there to help kids become healthy and not ignore their children’s health.
Another idea is to get a Virtual Reality headset and put on a game that is subliminally helping them to work out. Alice Park held a research and found that, “when playing these games for 10 minutes, children expended at least as much energy–and with some games, nearly twice as much–as they did walking on a treadmill for the same amount of time. Not only did the gamers burn more calories but […] the researchers were particularly encouraged by the fact that the overweight children in the study liked the exergames the most, suggesting that they could be an effective way to entice heavier children to become more active” (Park). Having the virtual reality headset will allow kids to work out without them even knowing. By combining the headset with a heart rate monitor, this can track the child’s level of exercise for the playing session. Creating games that grant extra lives or coins that can be used to upgrade a player in the game after a certain amount of energy is put into the game will convince children to want to play the game more. Video game businesses have tried to implement working out in their games but have failed because of how little attractiveness the game is to consumers. At times, kids do not like to know they are working out, but by disguising the workout into a game that has them moving around, this can help get them on their feet and off the couch. Video game consoles like the Nintendo Wii seemed to have worked at getting kids off the couch until they figured out that the games work just as well just by waving the remote around. In VR you have two controllers with motion controls and making games similar to the Wii games can benefit kids or even anyone that finds that particular game attractive.
Children need to know that there are consequences when they eat unhealthy foods. Showing them at a young age would not only help them in the future, but also their future families to come. It would not only help the world become a healthier place, but also introduce a new generation of children who grow up less obese and eventually live longer lives as well. But before any of this can happen, the most important step must begin with the parents.
Cummins, Denise. “The Rise in Obesity Is Due to Stress.” Obesity, edited by Sylvia Engdahl,
Greenhaven Press, 2015. Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/EJ3010380287/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=c26aeab4. Accessed 10 May 2018. Originally published as “This Is Why We’re Fat and Sick: Stress in America,” Psychology Today, 14 June 2013.
Green, Gregory, et al. “Physical activity and childhood obesity: strategies and solutions for
schools and parents.” Education, vol. 132, no. 4, 2012, p. 915+. Opposing Viewpoints In Context, http://link.galegroup.com.chaffey.idm.oclc.org/apps/doc/A297135690/OVIC?u=ranc95197&sid=OVIC&xid=b6f242de. Accessed 9 May 2018.
Roberts, Louis. “Beat Obesity with Bribes? Fat Chance.” Daily Telegraph, the (Sydney), 19 Jan.
2017, p. 24. EBSCOhost, chaffey.idm.oclc.org/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=n5h&AN=9X9DTMNEWSMMGLSTRY000210697790&site=ehost-live.
Park, Alice. “Gaming the System.” Time, vol. 177, no. 11, 21 Mar. 2011, p. 20. EBSCOhost,