How Childhood Obesity is linked to Poverty in America

Published: 2019-11-18 08:30:00
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Obesity among the Young people has recorded the highest rates in most parts of the United States. Sadly enough, the kids from the low income areas are greatly affected by the menace (Menifield et al.). Obesity Epidemiology journal likened the notch of obesity in Norway, Canada and the U.S. It states that, in the Canada especially in the U.S, higher rates of obesity have been recorded among the poor children than the non-poor, (Phipps et al. 5-12). Affirmed by the article; obesity is highly pronounced among the underprivileged groups as compared to those with advanced socioeconomic status. The study encompassed an analysis of various studies carried out in the state to investigate the association between obesity with poverty as well as studies aimed at delinking obesity and poverty.

Based on two health agencies in the United States (Center for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S Department of Health and Human Services), obesity cases have increased over the ages. Corroborating evidence for this is the fact that in the 1990s not one state that had more than 15 percent obesity cases, but today only six states have less than 20 percent of obesity cases. Although Menifield et al. focused on a small group of countries, the concern have focused majorly on all who cared about the health of the young adults in the society. Studies indicates that there has been a 17.1% percent increase of rates of adolescent obesity between 1999 and 2004. Poverty has been one of the most targeted factors linked to rising obesity cases in the U.S (Menifield et al.). Therefore, researches linking the two is necessary for the government, health agencies and the public in order to find out the desirable ways in which remedies can be eliminated. This enables the government and non-governmental organizations to come up with strategies and policies aimed at enhancing the livelihoods of those living in abject poverty, so as to reduce these hiking rates of obesity. Such strategies may include, but not limited to; availing fresh and nutritious foods to such people. In addition, the government can also ensure that it creates more job opportunities for them in order to boost their living standards.

From the research linking on childhood and adolescent obesity and poverty, I have found out that poverty has a higher probability of causing obesity; contrary to the belief of many that, children and young adults from financially stable families are vulnerable to obesity and overweight. Obesity has been a rampant health issue among many young people in U.S and it is increasing each year according to the research Additionally, the studies focused on sexes found out that females were more susceptible than the males (Lee, Harris and Gordon-Larsen 505-532). The female- male parity was found to be caused by interceding characters in females such as inadequate sleep, lack of physical activities, poor meal management. Girls are also known to be more emotional than males. Therefore they are the ones who feels the greater impact of poverty in their families. Furthermore, the research showed that poor parenting habits; which was the case in low-income families, expose children to harmful lifestyle habits such as indulgence in alcoholism, smoking and even overuse of low-quality junk food.

Statistics on the relationship between obesity and low income in Canada as recorded by Genetics Research Journal have proved that, household income had a great impact on the young, school-going children and adolescents, Children from families living below the poverty line, according to the statistics had a higher risk of above 20 % as it is to their counterparts from rich families, (Phipps et al. 5-12). There is need to emphasize this new fact about the close correlation between poverty and obesity since there has been a false belief that children from well-off families are more likely to be affected by obesity than children from the poor households.

A study was done by Singh, Kogan and van Dyck to examine regional and state parity in terms of childhood and adolescent obesity, comprising of 40,000 participating children and adolescents, in the United States. This was based on the socio-economic statuses of the regions involved. It was found out that the Eastern and Southern Central regions had 18.9% of its young people with obesity while the mountain region had only 11.4%. Income inequalities in the East and Southern Central were higher as compared to the mountain regions. This was no doubt why higher rates were recorded from the former than the latter. Also crucial to these are; the physical geographical differences as well as the built environment and the state levels of policy measures which also have a significant impact on obesity cases, (Singh, Kogan and van Dyck 90-102). People from regions characterized by lower social economic statuses record higher levels of instability and the result among others is obesity of its young population.

Linking physical activities and dietary management in global perspective, studies comprising large-scale surveys have been carried out to gather vital information (Gordo~Larsen et al). From the findings, body inactivity among teenagers accelerated obesity. Children from families with poor backgrounds often had rare opportunities of organizing sports activities and outdoor exercises due to lack of required facilities and funding. A careful data analysis revealed that well-off parents always monitor their childrens lifestyles when they are at home therefore any noticeable bad habit is corrected before it gets worse. On the other hand, Gordo~Larsen et al. argued that; financially constrained parents have little concern on what their children takes into their bowels, hence unable to curb any cropping harmful habits. In other words, this study shows that, parents having financial difficulties spending much of their time looking for money to support their families and in turn leaving out their duty to monitor the eating and general lifestyle of their children; the result to this is poor health such as obesity and overweight.

Disparities bringing parity in terms of obesity rates have also influenced by poverty have been recorded in elementary schools. Children from poor families do not get the opportunity of attending schools with better facilities and good dietary monitoring. A study done for the Atlanta Journal constitution on effects of obesity involved a significant number of doctors who asserted that, only 8% of the elementary schools had good facilities for physical education. This indicate that very few children in America have access to physical education and activities. While the 8% percent figure might be exaggerated by White, there is no much doubt on the fact that many of the children do not have access to these physical education facilities in their schools. Lack of information in lower class schools, makes the children ignorant on the kinds of food which are healthy to their bodies. On the other hand, in higher class schools; parents and children are made aware of how they should take care of their bodies, in this case their diet management and physical exercise. Additionally, teachers and trainers from the so-called schools of the poor are not motivated to go an extra mile in educating their learners on matters pertaining their health.

American food stores have made it easier to access processed and canned foods leaving behind the fresh farm foods. These foods though easily accessible, have adverse long-term effects to the human body. When consumed in large quantities, probability that one will become a victim of obesity is so high. Data indicate that an average of 20% of the elementary school children take more than four sodas daily (White). Due to financial constraints, the low income earners opt for the cheap and accessible foods not taking into consideration the health of their family members. On the other side, the rich go for the expensive fresh farm foods which have healthy benefits to their bodies.

As asserted by the Obesity and Genetics Journal, It is not only genes that is responsible for obesity; socio-demographic and environmental elements are also the major causes. Lower socioeconomic status, poor neighborhoods and lack of access to healthy and nutritious natural food- such as fresh fruits and vegetables, also increases the risks of being obese and overweight (Skouteris e31-e32). The processed and canned foods find its way to the homes of the poor in the society ending up affecting their childrens health as the rich on the other side enjoy the fruits of their wealthy- which is good health.

Criticisms have never ceased to occur about the researches linking obesity directly with poverty. Some of the researchers have argued that there was little correlation between obesity and poverty as compared to higher social status. They assert that, high income countries had higher obesity rates than the low income countries. For instance, the United States being one of the wealthiest nation, has high rates of obesity compared to any other country in the third world. It is indicated that more than half of the American population is overweight. Therefore to them, there are other factors other than poverty that causes obesity. Putting focus on the larger America, and getting deeper to individual problems of each state, it is found that, cultural and economic factors are a major factors causing obesity. Study Schweizer argue against the link between poverty and obesity, he found out that, obesity prevalence increased as poverty levels decrease. The middle-class families having better socioeconomic status than the poor would have been expected to have lower prevalence of obesity, but the case turned out the other way round. It is therefore clear according to them that it is not true to say that those people with higher poverty levels are at a higher risk of becoming obese.

Miechs study on overweight prevalence among adolescents of different socio-economic status, found out that, nutritional trends have had little effect on older teenagers brought up from poor households. According to the study, older teenagers had a wider preference and choice of food, and also choose whether to take their meals on routine basis or skip others such as breakfast (Miech et al. 4-10).

For the recent decades, obesity among the marginal races in America has been on a high niche due to the economic unpredictability among the groups. This places them in a situation inept to procure healthy regimes hence subject to meagre living conditions thus plumpness becoming the standard healthy issue even among the young children. According to 2002 statistics, Hispanic and African-American teen-agers are the utmost affected, twenty-four percent being black girls and nineteen percent black boys affected in the age cluster of 12-19 (White). Correspondingly, the data presented the Mexican-American girls as twenty percent whereas the boys were fifteen percent. In this, medics comprehended the weighty kids being majorly associated with breathing disarrays, hypertension, bone and joint hitches hence with aging they are exposed to heart disease and malignance.

Paucity places this lesser beings to such unhealthy disorders, the state thereby are key stakeholders in helping these families entree to ample learning, employment openings and adequate activity facilities. Policies in place will enable the youngsters as well as the grown-ups get the core reputation of healthy consumption, extra income henceforth enhanced living conditions. As a result, reduced incidences of obesity that leads to lessened occurrences of adult diseases such as diabetes amongst the youngsters will be experienced.

Work Cited

Lee, Hedwig, Kathleen Mullan Harris, and Penny Gordon-Larsen. "Life Course Perspectives On The Links...


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