I am writing regarding the unnoticed epidemic of childhood obesity which is finding a way into the livelihood of American children.
Over the year, scientists and health researchers have tried to explain the issue of childhood obesity and its legal implication to the general economy of the United States. A child is considered obese if the calculated body mass index exceeds 95%. According to Vazquez and Cubbin (2020), a child can inherit a genetic makeup of obesity from the parents or can be obese by consuming high caloric meals without proper diet and exercise programs. The existing policies do not effectively secure the health of children. Companies producing all kinds of sweet variety usually target children. These sweets contain high amounts of calories, and if the intake is not at equilibrium with the burnt calories, the children may become obese. Therefore, childhood obesity can cause economic stress and complicated legal restrictions to the food production fraternity.
Economic and Legal Landscape
Childhood obesity has added parental cost and has proved to be more expensive when eradicating it. Parents of the affected children have to spend more on purchasing medications for the opportunistic disease. Difficulty in breathing, stress and reduced response rate are some of the opportunistic diseases and complications that emerge as a result of childhood obesity. Rehabilitation programs that aim at reversing obesity are expensive. The government is channeling funds meant for development into fighting obesity while creating awareness on prevention strategies.
The US government has created programs that aim at overseeing the childhood obesity epidemic. However, the legal procedures in the programs are quite unfriendly to the general public. Ludwig (2018) explains that the department of agriculture has issued a policy guideline on the MyPlate initiative, which may be more expensive to maintain in low-income families. Sharma (2020) argues that the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2019 allows the government to use public funds to provide psychological and physical treatment to affected children. The policy on using public funds to fight child obesity has created a public misunderstanding as other citizens feel it is parental negligence and should seek the government intervention
The government should strongly prohibit the production and distribution of high caloric foodstuffs to children. Also, the government should shut down industries producing such snacks. Those that produce and distribute products whose main target audience are children should be imposed with higher taxes which can then be channeled into funding child obesity-related activities (Morales et al.,2019). Stores should only sell snacks and sweets to children in the presence of their parents. Before purchasing children’s food, parents should seek advice from a nutritionist to prevent high caloric meals.
Active health stakeholders like child nutritionists should analyze the vulnerable families likely to sire obese children due to genetic inheritance. They should provide well-drawn programs to these families who clearly state what kind of food the children need to eat and the kind of lifestyle they need to live to prevent obesity. Gene inheritance is difficult to prevent most to those families that seek to conceive children naturally. However, with In vitro fertilization, scientists can edit out genes that are likely to cause obesity.
The consumption of high caloric meals by children is directly associated with the availability of these foodstuffs. Industries manufacturing children-targeted products like high sugar ice cream and sweets estimate 22% of the total food consumed by children (Iacobucci 2019). The nutrition of such snacks is limited and may not serve the required growth nutrients children need. According to Iguacel et al. (2021), chocolate-based candy contains high amounts of calories, mostly consumed by children in the state of Utah. The child obesity rate in Utah is high; 23% of the children have a BMI of more than 95% (Iguacel et al., 2021). Therefore, there is a need for the government to ban any aggressive sweet distribution company from Utah.
The proposed strategy to curb the production and distribution of obese-causing snacks should be initiated. According to Iguacel et al. (2021), in 2020, a total of 39 million obese children were estimated to be under the age of 5 years. The health sector was the one affected more. With the proposed strategy, the health care quality will improve since there will be reduced cases of child obesity. Instead of taking children to hospitals, parents will go to seek nutritional guidance. Parents will seek to prevent their children from being obese, and therefore, it will reduce the anticipated cost they are likely to pay if their children become obese. The government is likely to cut the cost spent on rehabilitation programs for obese children.
The aspect of socioeconomic and its impact on child obesity provides a platform for social level understanding. Altering aggressive distribution of snacks to the low-income neighborhood will prevent flooding of unhealthy snacks. Research indicates that Provo, being a poor state of Utah, receives most snack tracks from Shepherd Cake supply. By controlling the distribution in this city, it is possible to reduce cases of childhood obesity. Most companies producing sweets target low-income households since their consumption is not based on diet rather on the availability of the foodstuff. Therefore, the government should impose high taxes in those areas to discourage sales.
Iacobucci, G. (2019). Government has “moral duty” to act on Child Obesity, says outgoing chief medical officer. BMJ: British Medical Journal (Online), 367. Web.
Iguacel, I., Gasch-Gallen, A., Ayala-Marin, A. M., De Miguel-Etayo, P., & Moreno, L. A. (2021). Social vulnerabilities as risk factor of childhood obesity development and their role in prevention programs. International Journal of Obesity, 45(1), 1-11. Web.
Ludwig, D. S. (2018). Epidemic childhood obesity: Not yet the end of the Beginning. Pediatrics, vol. 141 no. 3. Web.
Morales Camacho, W. J., Molina Díaz, J. M., Plata Ortiz, S., Plata Ortiz, J. E., Morales Camacho, M. A., & Calderón, B. P. (2019). Childhood obesity: Aetiology, comorbidities, and treatment. Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews, vol. 35 no. 8. Web.
Sharma, P. (2020)The Treat and Reduce Obesity Act of 2019. Web.
Vazquez, C. E., & Cubbin, C. (2020). Socioeconomic status and Childhood Obesity: A review of literature from the past decade to inform intervention research. Current Obesity Reports, pp. 1-9. Web.