Childhood obesity occurs when excess fat in a child's body negatively affects the child's health and well-being (Kiess, Marcus and Wabitsch, 2004). Many of the causes of obesity are lifestyle-based, although there are instances where genetics plays a role. The most common causes of obesity are consumption of high calorie food, lack of physical exercise and environmental factors. These causes can be controlled, which means that the problem can be solved.
Consumption of food containing high calorie levels is one of the main causes of childhood obesity. Food items that contain high levels of calories include cookies, chips, soda and other baked food. These food items are easily available to children because they are dispensed at school compounds that allow dispensers. Moreover, fast food joints have dedicated huge sums of money to advertisements that target children. These fast foods rarely meet the nutritional requirements with regard to calorie content. Consequently, they predispose children to the risks of obesity.
In the contemporary society, an increasing number of children are living sedentary lives. On average, many children spend four hours watching television, movies or playing video games. These children do not get enough time to exercise and burn excess calories within their bodies. As a result, they end up being obese and overweight.
Environmental factors that contribute to childhood obesity include nurturing the agents of obesity in children. Children consume what is readily available to them within their environments. For instance, children whose parents stock refrigerators with high calorie foodstuff are more likely to consume them and become obese than children with no access to such food items. Moreover, school environments that have snack and soda dispensers provide an environment for children to consume high calorie content items.
Obesity can be dealt with by examining its causes and eliminating them. The first step to eliminate childhood obesity is to monitor the food being consumed by children. This task should be a collective responsibility of parents, teachers and policy makers. Children should be fed with with low calorie food and food containing more fiber.
The second solution to the problem of childhood obesity is encouraging children to perform physical exercises regularly (Koplan, Liverman and Kraak, 2005). Parents should be firm on this because children who are used to sedentary lifestyles may not enjoy outdoor activities. Parents should help children allocate time for indoor activities and outdoor activities. For this solution to be effective, they should provide their children with reasons why exercising is necessary. In cases where one of the children is obese, the whole family can create a program of exercising together. This way, the affected child is unlikely to feel isolated and stigmatized.
The final solution involves creating an environment that discourages consumption of high calorie food while encouraging physical exercises. Fast food restaurants should be monitored by the government for compliance with nutritional requirements. Parents should stock their homes with low calorie food, vegetables and fiber containing food.