Childhood obesity as a health issue presented to legislator’s office in the Department of Health Services of Suffolk County
Child obesity is defined as an increased body mass resulting from fat accumulation in a child’s body, which may cause health dangers to the child. Child obesity has been on the rise especially in modern societies where eating habits have changed. The medical condition can be prevented through simple practices and changing of eating habits. According to National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) report conducted between 2007 and 2008, approximately 17% children between the ages of 2-19 years are obese. The statistic showed that America has the largest portion of obese children; the report indicated that about 70% of obese children have a likelihood of being obese in their adult life. According to CRC Health Group website 2000, 19% of children aged between the ages of 2-11 were obese (Institute of Medicine, 2004).
According to New York department of Health 2009, a survey conducted between 2006 and 2008, showed more than 600,000 children of between the ages of 0-4 years were obese. In this number, about 14,000 patients were found in Suffolk County (Department of Health, 2009).
Causes of childhood obesity
A number of factors can be blamed for the occurrence of obesity in children; the factors can be classified as:
- Genetic and hormonal
These are biological factors where some people have the tendency of accumulating more fat than other peoples accumulate. This cause is the hardest to control however if parents act consciously of this factor, then they can check foods taken by a child to reduce chances of obesity in their children.
- Familial and nutritional
Obesity can be seen to run down a family, because of diet and nutritional issues in the family setting. If a family engages in inappropriate eating habits, then children in the family are likely to suffer from obesity.
- Psychological and physiological factors
Naturally, in development stages of a child, some ages may lead to a liking of some foods, mostly junk foods. If the rate of consumption is not controlled, they are likely to be obese.
- Lifestyle adopted by modern children
Modern foods, mostly junk foods are freely available for children; this has resulted to a changed eating habits to such foods that increasing the rate of child obesity. In Suffolk County, there a number of junk foods outlets where children can buy junk food with or without their parents (Pool, 2001).
Measures that Suffolk County Department of Health Services can do to prevent obesity
It is better to prevent than cure, obesity can be prevented in the county through the intervention of policy makers, parents and other stakeholders. To address the issue of obesity in the society, the county health department has the role of enforcing rules and regulations as well as creating awareness to the people on how they can change their eating habits for the benefits of their children. The country should ensure that children have enough playing ground, at school or village level so as they can use plays to exercise their bodies.
Parents and junk food joints should be held responsible of children health; this can be through regulations that control advertisement of junk foods in the county and ensuring fresh and health foods are sold in the joints (Keller, 2008).
Handouts to be left in the legislator’s office
- “Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures” by Institute of Medicine: 2004
- “Marketing Food to Children and Adolescents”, by World Federation of Advertisers: 2008.
Department of Health.(2009). Obesity Statistics for Suffolk County. Web.
Institute of Medicine. (2004). Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures. Web.
Keller, K. (2008). Encyclopedia of Obesity. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc
Pool, R. (2001). Fat: Fighting the Obesity Epidemic. Oxford: Oxford University Press