Childhood obesity has become a severe problem in the United States. Now, one in every three children is considered obese. This problem is especially prevalent in cities, including Baltimore, Maryland. The low socio-economic status of most of its citizens, coupled with the landscape of a city, provide for a high rate of obesity. Race also plays a major role on childhood obesity. African American children are recorded as having higher obese rates than their Caucasian counterparts.
Some of the major causes of childhood obesity are mass media and today’s technology age, unhealthy foods surrounding children, school lunches, a lack of physical activity, and children’s socioeconomic status and race. These problems can lead to physical and mental health problems and high financial costs. If this problem isn’t addressed, children will continue into adulthood as obese and risk even greater health problems.
Currently there are people who are fighting childhood obesity. Federal legislation such as the Healthy, Hunger-Free kids act and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity have made strides to reduce obesity in America. Accompanied by movements, such as the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, childhood obesity rates will hopefully start to decline. Business leaders like Alice Waters are also taking a charge against obesity. She founded the Edible Schoolyard Project which promotes educational programming that use food to educate youth about proper nutritional values and healthy lifestyles. Schools have also started to take initiative. The Boston Public School System established the Planet Health program, which set up physical, nutritional and behavioral education in middle schools. The program was successful and saw a 3.3 decrease in obesity rates in females. This program should set an example for schools around the country to follow.
The Baltimore City Public School System has a long way to go. If they can implement some of the recommendations I have presented, the childhood obesity rate should decline. Schools are the vehicle to success in this epidemic. They need to encourage community members to support the fight and help stop the obesity rates from increasing.