Childhood obesity in America has been increasing at alarming rates thus calling for its redress with the urgency it deserves. These increased rates have been attributed largely to the changed lifestyles where physical activities have been avoided and eating habits changed. Hobbies that would ensure that children engaged in physical activities like swimming have been replaced by watching television, playing computer games and surfing the internet. There is a clear discrepancy between the level of calories consumed and calories utilized. (Zametktn A et al, 2004).
Childhood obesity is largely attributed to poor eating habits adopted by the American children today. Popularity of the fast foods and convenient stores make the children favor unhealthy foods to freshly prepared and cooked foods with the nutritional requirements. (Blasi, M. 2003). Childhood obesity needs to be addressed amicably as it is associated with various health problems or complications. It is linked with increased instances of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular problems, sleep apnea as well as asthma. There have been increased consumption rates of soft drinks which have refined sugars that are directly absorbed into the body.
(Sneed J, 2006). A 2000 School Health Policies and Programs Study established that half of the Schools in the US had soft drinks contractors who recorded a high sales record of up to 80%. Schools have also failed to offer the recommended daily physical education. They also offered poor nutritional offerings making the rate of childhood obesity to rise. (Grimm G, Harnack L Story M, 2004). Other adverse effects of childhood obesity include low self esteem, higher instances of anxiety disorders as well as depression. The rate of absenteeism is also higher among children suffering from obesity especially at the advanced stages.
Children remain a special group in the society as they determine the nation’s future. Their health is the nation’s priority. The Child Nutrition and WIC (women infant and children) Reauthorization Act of 2004 (public law 108-265) could trace its origin to the 1946 National School Lunch Program. Other nutritional programs include the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) of 1969-70. The School Breakfast Program of the 80’s was less accessible in the public schools and there was need to increase its accessibility as well as the content of proteins, fruits, vegetable and grains offered.
Research established that this program was effective in ensuring better performance but it needed more funds to be effective. The Summer Food Program was also an effective program especially for the children from low income families who relied on the national food programs. Consequently the quality of the food offered in these programs largely affected their health. (Kennedy E and Edward Cooney E, 2001). 2. PROBLEMS THAT NECESSITATED THE POLICY Out of every three children in America one was found to be overweight.
Increased rates of childhood obesity translate to increased rates of children with chronic diseases which is a disadvantage to any economy. It would lead to increased cost of health care which would be like adding salt to an injury. (Denney S and DeMattia L 2008). Approximately 27 million school meals are served daily to American children under the watch of school food service professionals. (Giampoali J, 2002). CDC recommended nutritional services in schools as a strategy toward eradicating childhood obesity in America. This bill was made law by President Bush in 2004.
There had been other temporary nutritional programs but this worked to strengthen them or rather reauthorize them. The school environments attracted much attention with the increased rates of childhood obesity. The thought or idea of introducing quality foods in terms of their nutritional content was adopted. Physical education programs were also to be introduced. Advocating for nutrition policies in school has over the years been advocated for by the American Federation of Teachers, the American School Food Services as well as the Centers for Disease Control. (McDonnell E, Probart C, Weirich E, 2006).