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Florida Atlantic University Childhood Obesity Discussion Response

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Discussion III: Childhood Obesity

           During their formative years, children are at the mercy of their caregivers in regards to the quality, quantity, and frequency of their food consumption as well as healthy exercise habits. Childhood obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease are possible pitfalls for children during their development and can be either exacerbated or curtailed depending on the approach, education, and oversight of their caregivers. Children are inherently able to regulate their food consumption at the onset of their lives but this innate ability can be reprogrammed to more destructive patterns if that is where their caregivers steer them. Caregivers leading by example with a balanced lifestyle of healthy foods and exercise can show children the way to avoid obesity, diabetes, and heart disease as they will carry these beneficial lifestyle choices with them as they grow into adolescence and beyond.

           Society has placed an emphasis on the importance of living a fast-paced lifestyle that poses quite a challenge to make smart decisions on quality food consumption. Nowadays drive-thru establishments are all too common and convenient to accommodate this unhealthy lifestyle. Taking the time to make food at home may seem like a burden but it is the key to teaching children how to fuel their bodies with the proper nutrients like calcium, iron, vitamin D, and fiber (Blake, p. 572). Preparing home-cooked meals should be looked at as an opportunity to educate the child and for the caregiver to lead by example. Including the child in the grocery shopping and meal preparation will allow them to develop their decision-making skills in regards to healthy food consumption. Each child has their own unique taste palate and including them in this process will help the caregiver to understand the child’s natural preferences and provide an avenue for ongoing nutritional education.

           Eating healthy foods in a well-balanced meal plan is one half of the equation, the other half is daily exercise. With the explosion of technology in our society, it is very easy to put a device in front of a child to keep them occupied which in turn will keep them sedentary. Instead, encourage physical activities like a family bike ride, sports, or playing outside with friends. Children tend to sit for the majority of their day during school as book-learning hours vastly outweigh their physical play time. Although caregivers likely cannot alter the school day format, they can make up for lost play time at home by limiting screen time and promoting physical activities. This will help children keep their weight at an ideal level which can ward off obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and heart disease.

           The responsibility of raising a child with healthy eating and exercise habits falls on the caregiver and this can be advantageous to both parties. When the caregiver leads by example with consuming healthy foods and engaging in daily physical activities, the child will have a positive role-model from which they can model their own choices and behaviors. The saying ‘it takes a village to raise a child’ rings true in this sense because when everyone around the child is exemplifying healthy habits, the child has the best chance of learning and understanding the importance of eating a balanced diet and exercising for developing in a healthy, disease-free manner for years to come.

Reference

Blake, J. (2020). Nutrition & You (5th ed.). Pearson. Retrieved from https://reader.yuzu.com/#/books/9780135217009/cfi/…

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