The problem of obesity in Georgia
The issue of childhood obesity is acute in the community of Georgia. According to research, 14.9% of children in Georgia are obese, making this state the 24th in the ranking of childhood obesity in the United States (Wills, 2020). This problem can lead to various consequences, including the development of different diseases: diabetes, asthma, and cardiovascular diseases. In order to competently and comprehensively combat childhood obesity, Georgia’s neighborhood community service must provide complex training and education to parents and guardians.
Causes of childhood obesity
Multiple variations of appetite in children can be traced back to infancy. As the child grows, their appetite becomes more apparent as he gets familiar with new drinks and food (Kral et al., 2018). Moreover, if a single gene is changed, the child may inherit a predisposition to obesity. In addition, some children may experience various eating disorders that lead to unwanted and unnecessary weight gain. All these characteristics can be traced even before the child begins to show the first signs of obesity. Thus, the earlier these signs are recognized, the more effective the methods of prevention and treatment of obesity will be.
Ways to tackle childhood obesity
Knowing the phenotype of a child’s eating behavior helps both parents and doctors develop a more targeted strategy to combat obesity. Community centers can contribute to raising awareness of this problem, as well as provide useful advice to parents and guardians. Such centers can hold various meetings and distribute leaflets with useful information. At those meetings and through handouts, guardians can be advised on what is suitable for children and what is not. Moreover, many charitable organizations, NGOs, and sponsors can provide funds for the purchase of healthy food in food desert areas.
Medical providers in the community should make a commitment to prevent and treat childhood obesity. Doctors should also receive some training that will allow them to expand their level of expertise in the field. Moreover, if parents themselves are obese, health workers should be competent enough to point out the growing threat to them and their children. Thus, in the moments when parents did not have time to recognize obesity at an early stage, they can rely on the professionalism of doctors. Dr. Sandy Hassink, in her TEDMED, suggests a new strategy that allows parents to rely on the community and health care providers in the fight against obesity.
On average, a child spends more time at school than at home, which shows how important school is for their development. Healthy eating and physical activity programs should be well integrated into the overall educational process and create a balance. Various projects, classes, and practical tasks should teach children how to develop a healthier lifestyle. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has created the Healthy Schools Program, which helps reduce chronic diseases and improve living standards. Moreover, the Whole School Whole Community Whole Child model was created by the CDC in order to address healthy well-being among children in schools.
The impact of Covid-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has seriously affected the situation of obese children. With schools quarantined, many children have lost access to healthy food and physical fitness programs. As a result, many teenagers and children began to eat more junk food, stopped playing sports, and gained extra weight. In addition to these programs, children have lost the mentoring of teachers and the support of medical professionals working in schools. Many obese children and adolescents rely on schools and teachers to provide them with a healthy diet and exercise. Thus, as schools begin to reopen, the CDC must continue to work toward addressing the treatment and threats of obesity among children.
Dangers of fad diets
Fad diets are not considered the safest way to lose weight for both adults and children. Such diets are most often not aimed at improving health but rather at quickly losing weight and achieving results in any way. Moreover, diets such as the keto diet exclude the intake of nutrients, which is critical for the growing body of the child. The popularity of such fad diets lies in the fact that they are most often advertised by celebrities, who many people look up to. Moreover, constant weight measurement leads to stress, which in turn can cause eating disorders and other mental illnesses.
Health professionals believe that instead of using fad diets, it is better to treat obesity with preventive methods and data collection. Prevention methods have proven to be more effective in the long run, which will ensure the child’s health. Since obesity most often manifests itself in the early stages of a child’s life, it is children who make up the vast majority of those suffering from this problem. Because of this, parents and doctors should put the prevention of obesity in the first place rather than the quick treatment itself. Thus, strategies to treat and prevent the spread of childhood obesity should include both therapy and holding families accountable for the child’s health problems.
Hassink, S. (2018). The community’s role in the childhood obesity pandemic. [Video]. YouTube.
Kral, T. V., Moore, R. H., Chittams, J., Jones, E., O’Malley, L., & Fisher, J. O. (2018). Identifying behavioral phenotypes for childhood obesity. Appetite, 127, 87-96. Web.
Willis, K. (2020). Here’s how many Georgia youth are obese, according to new report. Atlanta Journal Constitution. Web.