Childhood Obesity

June 19, 2018 Physical Education

Obesity is a serious medical condition that affects children and adolescents. The NSW Schools Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey (SPANS) conducted research in 2010 and found that 22. 8% of children between 5-17 years of age were classified as overweight or obese (Health NSW, 2012). Studies have shown a dramatic rise in the number of obese children in the last few decades and it has been shown that between 1980 and 2000, obesity rates doubled among children and tripled among teens. Obesity means having too much body fat.

A child is obese if their weight is more than 20% higher than the ideal weight for a boy or girl of their age and height (ABS, 2009). Childhood obesity is increasing in first world countries due to unhealthy food choices, lack of physical activity, family eating habits and changing society. It is evident that as our society has changed in the past 20 years, childhood obesity has increased. As both parents are now spending more time in paid employment this results in them not having enough time to cook healthy and nutritious meals for their children.

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Instead food is being prepared away from the home and take-away foods are being eaten instead as they are an easier and more convenient option. Also the overall cost of food has gone down and with the number of two-income families increasing, families now have money they never had 20 years ago allowing them to spend more money on junk food such as chips, lollies, ice-creams and frozen foods. The role of physical education in the school curriculum has reduced and more subjects such as information technology, art and drama being introduced resulting in children and adolescents spending less time doing physical activity.

From 2004 to 2010 there was a significant decline in physical activity among students in Years 6, 8 and 10. This is a reversal of the gains observed between 1997 and 2000. Also 20 years or so ago the use of cars was not as popular as they were expensive which meant that children would walk to school or their local shopping centre, however now due to the streets being publically know as ‘unsafe’ and with the use of cars increasing children are spending more time sitting down. Overall, less than half of students in Years K, 2 and 4 spend 60 minutes or more a day doing physical activity (Health NSW).

Nowadays with children being given iPads, iPhones, iPods, playstations and laptops it’s obvious that they would rather sit down inside and play these games rather than do physical exercise. These electronics are highly addictive and are changing children’s attitudes on healthy living. If one parent is overweight or obese, their teenager has an 80% chance of being overweight. This is due to a combination of genetics and family behavior and habits. The rise in the number of overweight children is a major concern as it not only causes health problems but also social problems and it is highly likely that these children will become obese adults.

The target audience of this design campaign are parents. Parents buy there children’s food and also can monitor their child’s time spent using electronics and can encourage their children to play sport. If the design campaign can provide knowledge to parents to prevent obesity and how to live a healthier lifestyle and influence their children, child obesity levels will drop. Once children are overweight, it requires a lot of effort and commitment for them to return to a healthy weight however it can be done with the right methods, attitude and awareness.

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