Obesity rates in children in the US have increased by over 100% during the last three decades for “preschool children aged 2-5 years and adolescents aged 12-19 years” while in the case of children in the age group of 6-11 years, “it has more than tripled” (Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures 1). This has become a major healthcare concern in the country, and the government and other agencies are actively considering preventive measures to eradicate this menace. But, despite the concerted efforts initiated by various authorities, the country is yet to gain any reasonable mileage in countering this problem.
(b) Significance of the Study:
The young children of today are the future of the country. In order to develop proper skills and become responsible citizens, children need to be healthy and active. However, as can be discerned from the data stated above, a major portion of them ails from obesity, which is a threat not only to the children themselves, but to the nation as a whole. Estimates indicate that “obesity associated hospital costs for children between the ages of 6 and 17 more than tripled, from $35 million to $127 million” within a 20 year period from 1979 to 1999 (Childhood Obesity: Most Experts Identified Physical Activity and the Use of Best Practices as Key to Successful Programs 1). Hence, the matter deserves immediate attention of healthcare authorities and other agencies to take more effective measures check this problem. Though considerable researches have been conducted in relation to this problem, there still remains scope for further research to evolve ways and means to prevent obesity in children. (c) Statement of the Problem: Despite the concerted efforts on the part of healthcare authorities, government, local agencies, schools, parents and non-profit organizations, effective controlling of obesity still remains a farfetched dream. Though avoidance of obesity-risk-prone-food and increased physical activities are being practiced, these are not found to be fully effective in curbing the trend of increasing obesity. As such, there is a need for further investigation into different aspects of the issue and evolve some innovative methods to counter this problem. 2. Conception and Definitions: Conception: This paper will consist of a detailed examination of the current problem of obesity in the US, the measures presently in practice and the extent of effectiveness of each of the measures. Besides, it will also attempt to delineate the practical difficulties in implementing any of the current policies or practices as well as explore new ways and means which can help reduce the rate of obesity in children. Definitions: i) Obesity: In so far as it relates to this study, obesity is defined as “body mass indexes (BMIs) equal to or greater than the 95th percentile of the age-and-gender-specific BMI charts developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)” (Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures 1). ii) Children: For the purpose of this study, the term ‘children’ would comprise all those who fall in the age category between “2 and 18 years” (Childhood Obesity in the United States: Facts and Figures 1). 3. Literature Review: Evidence elicited through various investigations amply vouches for the fact that obesity is a major threat to the health of children in the US. Unites States Govt. Accountability Office, Washington (2005), finds that during the past three decades obesity in children has increased in the country. This has forced the policy makers in healthcare sector to “rank childhood obesity as a critical public health