What is causing the obesity epidemic?
When studying childhood obesity, marketing and eating practices are often assumed to be the primary causes, but there are other factors complicating the issue. The causes of childhood obesity are the direct result of poor food choices and food education, and lifestyle decisions such as choosing sedentary activity over physical activity.
Poor nutrition and obesity have a very strong relationship. Children today are at risk of obesity primarily because of poor food choices combined with lack of education in nutrition. There is a tremendous lack of education in nutrition in elementary, middle, and high schools. The CDC recognized this problem in an article promoting a coordinated approach to educating children to healthy eating and nutrition:
Reversing the obesity epidemic requires a long-term, well-coordinated approach to reach young people where they live, learn, and play, and schools have an important role. Working with other public, voluntary, and private sector organizations, schools can play a critical role in reshaping social and physical environments and providing information, tools, and practical strategies to help students adopt healthy lifestyles (Center for Disease Control, 2008).
Even with education, there are other factors impacting the obesity epidemic. Sedentary activity choices over physical activity choices also increase obesity rates. According to the World Health Organization (2010), the consumption of energy dense, low nutrient foods, combined with large amounts of sugar and saturated food have tripled obesity rates since 1980. The studies by the World Health Organization show that the increase in obesity is a global problem which can be correlated with decreased physical activity (World Health Organization, 2010).
Some of the major reasons for reduced physical activity have been associated with technology such as video games and computers. While video games and computers are not causal to obesity, the sedentary nature of these activities invites obesity risk. This factor combined with reduced physical education increases the likelihood of obesity for many people. So while there are definitely unhanded practices with food companies, there are other mitigating factors which are allowing obesity to reach epidemic levels.
Center for Disease Control. (2008, January). Make a Difference at Your School. Retrieved from Center for Disease Control: http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/keystrategies/pdf/make-a-difference.pdf
Kowalski, R., & Westen, D. (2009). Psychology (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
WebMD. (2005, April 11). How Male and Female Brains Differ. Retrieved from WebMD: http://www.webmd.com/balance/features/how-male-female-brains-differ?print=true
World Health Organization. (2010). Childhood overweight and obesity. Retrieved from World Health Organization: http://who.int/dietphysicalactivity/publications/facts/obesity/en/.
Vincent Triola. Sun, Apr 04, 2021. The Acceptable Addiction of Buying & Eating Obesity-Promoting Foods Retrieved from https://vincenttriola.com/blogs/ten-years-of-academic-writing/the-acceptable-addiction-of-buying-eating-obesity-promoting-foods