"Oh, mommy I want this for lunch," says a girl pointing to the Happy Meal in a McDonald's commercial on television. "Sure, darling. You can eat whatever you want," replied the mother as she grabs her daughter's hand to take her to the restaurant in Kahala. The following day, "Mommy, can we go to back to McDonald's for lunch today? I want that taro pie on the TV," the daughter said starring up at her mother. Surprised by her request, she smoked and took her there without a word. Halfway through that same day, "Mommy can we go back to McDonald's? I am getting hungry," said the daughter. The mother quickly knew what the problem was: her daughter's addiction to fast food. Hesitant and fearful of her daughter's reaction upon refusal, the mother ignored her conscience and responded, "Okay." The mother's decision to disregard her daughter's weight situation will jeopardize her daughter's adulthood.
Obesity is a devastating medical condition affecting all age groups. If one is overweight and the problem is left untreated in the early stage, he / she risks becoming obese in his / her adulthood. Obesity could prevent the child from participating in normal adolescent activities. Childhood obesity is prevalent through society even in an isolated community like Hawaii. This issue is often overlooked among children because he / she is still maturing. Society must address this issue in the early stage in order to reduce the problem.
Obesity is a mysterious problem that seems to arrise any time in a person's life. Overweight is medically defined to be in the body mass index (BMI) range of 25.0 and 24.9 and overweight is between 25.0 and 29.9 ("Overweight and Obesity"). Childhood obesity is an underestimated topic parents and doctors dismiss for its absence to be determined at an early age. Therefore, it is expected that the obese census has exponentially increased undetected in the past two decades. This low-state of awareness to react to a small problem will multiply making itself prevalent through society.
Childhood obesity is rapidly expanding towards every corner of the world. Hawaii, one of the most isolated communities, is greatly affected by the obesity epidemic due to cultural industrialization. In order for Hawaiian culture to stay connected with the rest of the society, it needed to change its old lifestyle to the fast-paced culture of modern society. In addition, Hawaii also needed to accept society's recommended fast foods into their culture that becoming a large target for obesity. Each year, the number of obese children in Hawaii has risen each subsequent year. In 2007, Hawaii's children obesity count was 28.5 percent ("Childhood Overweight and Obesity Trend"). Two years later, it has risen to about 33 percent; And the next two consecutive years it has risen to 38% (Segal). In four years, the number of obese children in Hawaii has increased by 33 percent. Hawaii's obese population is continuously growing and does not seem to stop in the future.
A major contributor for the rise is how parents raise their children. Parents are rarely at home to regularly monitor what foods their children eat and encourage daily exercise. A parent's participation in promoting a healthy behavior is a key factor in avoiding childhood obesity. Encouraging one's child to commit to healthy behavior is a significant variable to focus on for proper growth and development. However, in a fast-moving community like Hawaii, parents find it hard to instill these values to our children. The first step to saving one's child from becoming obese is to guide them in distinguishing healthy foods. At home, children replicate behaviors, either good or bad, from an adult figure. Because parents are rarely present at home today, children have to follow different role models. Children often became attracted to the wrong crowd so learning the negative behaviors. To counteract this problem, parents should exemplify good values and behaviors in front of their children like eating a well-rounded diet and drinking plenty of water. This discourages kids from consuming fatty foods and encourages healthier dieting. This front alone will not persuade children away from obesity. Parents must take the next step to by showing support along the way.
Eating healthy can only go so far without the right follow-up. A healthy diet is only the base of the solution; It needs the physical support to keep the treatment going. Parents should promote daily exercise. In hand with eating healthy helps, exercise helps speed up one's recovery from obesity. Obesity is typically caused from the imbalance of energy surplus. It is clear that by exercising, one is spending the excess calories from the food he / she eats. By being physically active, one is also building the muscle and confidence to feel good in public. Ultimately, exercise helps build character. With two of the three steps to preventing childhood obesity, the last step comes from the one giving the advice.
The last support needed is from one's parents. The best time to get in contact with one's parents is at dinner. During this event, parents should communicate with their child and hear what arises in their child's life. If a problem like feeling overweight happens, give them advice and show them what to do the following day. Do not punish or scold them for something that is out of their control. However, that also does not mean to ignore the problem. Parents are the best type of support because they are experienced and more knowledgeable of the problem. In addition, communication of the weight problem and commitment to overcoming it will create a strong relationship that will solve the problem. Taking these steps is not limited to only weight problems, but any situation.
With these tools at one's disposal, one should commit to practicing them regularly. Childhood obesity is a serious problem that involves the affected child and their parents. This issue should not be easily overlooked. A child and their parent should not be strangers towards each other on an issue like obesity. Parents should regularly check up on their children so that there are no obstacles preventing them from living a normal life. Children should frequently talk with their parents when a problem is bothering them. Children should listen to their positive role models and commit to their advice; It improves one's health which reflects very on society itself.