Childhood Obesity and Technology Research Paper

Pages: 6 (2013 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 6  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Children

Childhood Obesity and Technology

Great number of studies have been carried out on the relationship between TV viewing, video gaming and an increased risk of Childhood Obesity. One of the main aims of this paper is to show with the help of facts the importance of the link and how TV viewing and increased video gaming on the phones, PlayStations, and computers is increasing the risk of children becoming more obese. This paper will examine if television viewing is the factor in increased childhood obesity in American children.

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The ratio and percentage of obese children and teenagers is increasing both in developed and developing countries. If the rates remain the same, it has been predicted that in the coming years, more than 60% of the diseases will be based on obesity. Studies have highlighted that every hour spent by the children in playing games and watching television, doubles the risk of obesity in these children. A number of factors have been associated with increased risk of obesity in children in U.S. And the rates of TV viewing and video game playing (Robinson, 1999, p. 1563). One of the most important factors in these cases includes having parents with no supervision. Many studies have revealed that in the presence of no supervision on the eating habits by the parents, children are more likely to consume increased amounts of junk foods. A number of studies have finally shown that the obesity in children in U.S. has now reached epidemic levels (Gortmaker, Peterson, Wiecha, Sobol, Dixit, Fox, and Laird, 1999, p. 411).

Since the last three decades, the percentage of obese children in America has tripled. Adding up the percentages and statistics, the important fact that is a revelation is that more than one third of the U.S. children are now obese. More than 17% of the children, approximately 12.5 million in U.S. are now obese.

Research Paper on Childhood Obesity and Technology Assignment

Increased attention has been given to the childhood obesity by the American Association of pediatrics. It has been reported by American Association of pediatrics that great effects on the health of American children are seen with an increase in the rates of childhood obesity. Some of the most common medical issues that are seen in the obese children include type 2 diabetes, sleeping disorders, respiratory issues, depression as well problems in the bones. It has also been added that the morbidity and mortality rates in a few years may become higher as compared to the rates in the case of smokers. More than 80% of the children are predicted to be obese in their adulthoods as well (Ebbeling, Pawlak, and Ludwig, 2002, p. 474).

Reasons of Increased Obesity in Children: Media

The clinical trials, surveys, and research has shown that there are two primary factors involved in increased rates of childhood obesity. These include eating habits of the children and exercise. Since the advent of technology, a great increase has been seen in the marketing tools. There has been a great increase in the number of TV shows, websites, video games, cable networks and so on. Some of the tools include advertisements on the TV, internet, and banners. The advertisements of fast food and junk foods are one of the most important factors in this case. It has been reported by the American Association of Pediatrics that an average American child watches 40,000 fast foods advertisements in one year. The second important class of technology which has a strong correlation with the advertisement include great advancements in computer gaming and TV programs (Richard, and Williams, 2001, p. 241s). The games being made in the modern days are more addictive, time consuming and more strategic based on which children tend to sit and play games for longer hours.

Television Viewing

Movies and programs being shown on the TV are of longer duration that also play an important role in making the children addicted to sitting. Reports have shown that American children between 8 and 18 years of age spend more than 8 hours a day using the entertainment media that includes TV or playing games. Of these 8 hours, more than 7 hours are dedicated to watching TV. Other than these it has been reported children younger than 6 years, spend more time playing indoor games, watching cartoons and TV than playing outdoor games. While watching, junk foods that include chips and sodas are common. The consumption of sodas and junk food during playing games and watching TV/movies has climbed high in U.S.. Reports from CDC has shown that more than 55 million American children are studying in schools and more than 60% of the schools offer sodas and junk foods in meals and lunches. More than 65% of the schools in U.S. have been seen to advertise less healthy foods that include sodas and junk foods. 60 minute of physical activity is recommended to the children each day but in 2007, it was reported that only 18% of the children attended physical activity (Ludwig, Peterson, and Gortmaker, 2001, p. 506).

Secondly, with an increase in rates of playing games and watching TV, a great reduction in rates of children involved in physical activity has been seen. TV viewing and playing games is one of the most contributing factor in increasing obesity in the American children as it takes away the time spent by the children in their physical activities, making children have snacks and food while watching TV or playing games making the children choose unhealthy foods by watching fast food advertisements.

Randomized controlled trial was conducted by the researchers at the Stanford University in 1996. Groups of children from the 3rd and 4th grade were selected from North Carolina. These children were shown TV programs and were asked to play video games. Gradually the exposure time to the media was reduced. The intervention strategy chosen in this case was no television viewing for a period of ten days followed by television viewing of less than seven hours in one week. The research elapsed a period of sex months. The study concluded that the children had shown significant reductions in the rates of the television viewing along with a great reduction seen in the rate of junk food consumption while watching TV. The level of weight loss was also measured. Reductions were seen in the triceps skin fold thickness, waist measurements, as well as the waist to hip ratio. The study helps in demonstrating one of the most important facts that the weight loos can be triggered in the children with less television viewing (Robinson, 1999, p. 1561).

Another study based on school intervention showed that important roles are to be played by improved diet, improved physical activity reduced television viewing in reducing obesity in children. The study included five intervention schools and five control schools. The main aim of the study was to make the children learn that reduced television viewing is more important thereby the children were taught by the teachers to reduce television viewing to less than 2 hours in one day. Along with this, the academic curriculum of the included schools were also changed by adding that the teachers must make the children learn that they are to incorporate exercises in their daily routines, reduce the intake and consumption of fast and junk food incorporating increased vegetables and fruits in their diet. The study concluded that for every reduced hour of television viewing, a great reduction in the obesity in children was seen in the intervention schools as compared to children in the control schools (Gortmaker, Peterson, Wiecha, Sobol, Dixit, Fox, and Laird, 1999, p. 411).

Roles of TV Food Advertisements on Eating habits of American Children

The researchers have shown that the unhealthy food choices made by the children in U.S. are more because of the advertisements shown on the TV. The researches have highlighted that there is a very strong link between obesity in children and the food advertisements. The reports have suggested that as the rates of ads on the television have picked up pace, so has the rate of obesity in children in U.S.. 20,000 commercial Tv ads based on foods were viewed by the average American children in the 80s, which increased to 30,000 in the 90s and now it is more than 40,000. It has been reported that more than 33% of the food-based television ads are on candies, 30% are on the cereals and more than 10% are on fast foods. A report focused on the television commercials that were aired while Saturday morning shows for children. Eleven commercials were taken into account and it was reported that in the period of one hour, one commercial was aired after every five minutes on an average (Kotz, and Story., 1994, p. 1298). One of the main facts that have been highlighted by this study is that since more than a hundre years in the American children, the nutritional value and content has been the same and one of the most important food that has been advertised very… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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