There are many various social problems in kids of America today ranging from poverty to drug abuse. One alarming factor that is rapidly exploding is childhood obesity. We have read and discussed Alice Davies’ article, “‘Extra Large,’ Please,” and taken notes on Morgan Spurlock’s documentary, Supersize Me, which describe the alarming social problem of childhood obesity connected to the fast food industry in America today. Davies stated: “Since 1980, the number of American kids who are dangerously overweight has tripled. More than 16 percent of our children qualify as ‘obese’” (Davies 114).
Although childhood obesity is a growing problem stemming from a terrible diet and lack of exercise, we can take action now to avoid further detriment towards their future health. The first cause of childhood obesity, in my opinion, is the lack of inactivity. Many schools are not required to have any physical education. Unfortunately, Davies’ states: “Many of those schools are so short of money they’ve scrapped physical-fitness classes” and “too few communities have athletic programs in place” (115). It is appalling that schools have a hand in this growing epidemic.
Also, Spurlock’s Supersize Me documentary shows that “schools are cutting out recess to study for testing and only one state requires physical-fitness classes. ” It is terrible that most of these children taking exams are obese. In addition, they live in a dangerous neighborhood where they can’t go out and play because “drug activity and violent crime may make playing outside dangerous” (Davies 115). Communities should take part in making the neighborhood a safe haven for kids to play outside. The second cause of childhood obesity is poor eating habits.
Many of our nation’s schools are allowing chain restaurants to be served for lunch. Disastrously, Davies’ states: “About 20 percent of our nation’s schools have sold chain restaurants the right to put their food items on the lunch line” and “the National Soft Drink Association reports that 60 percent of public and private middle schools and high schools make sodas available for purchase” (115). Schools should not be profiting from these students. Furthermore, Spurlock’s Supersize Me documentary reveals that “USDA approved lunches provided by the government top 1000 calories. It is revolting to find out that the government is feeding our children these types of food. In addition, the huge portions that are filling their hungry stomachs are actually more than what they need. For instance, she reveals that, “For very little more money, diners can end up with a quarter-pounder burger, extra-large fries, and an extra large cup of coke that add up to1,550 calories whereas in the past the average McDonald’s meal was only “590 calories” (Davies 116). That is staggering! There are many bad effects from a lack of exercise and eating a terrible diet.
Our nation’s children are not able to do any physical activity because of poor health issues. Sadly, Davies’ states: “When California’s students in grades 5 through 12 were given a basic fitness test, almost 8 out of 10 failed” (115). Statistics show that is 80 percent of our nation’s children. Sickeningly, Spurlock’s Supersize Me reveals that “he inherited many health problems which includes high blood sugar, high cholesterol, and worst of all, liver damage. ” We should try to cut out fast-food because it can kill you. In addition, our children are developing health issues at a very young age. Hordes of them are developing diet related diabetes, a disease that used to be seen almost always in adults” (Davies 114). It is disturbing that kids can develop diabetes at such a young age. There is no overnight remedy to the problem of our nation’s children’s inactivity and malnourished diet. We can start by taking some steps toward their future health. The first solution is not to feed them an unhealthy diet in school. As Davies’ explains, “Fast-food meals and junk-food vending machines should be banned from schools” (116).
Secondly, children should have daily physical education and recess. Spurlock’s Supersize Me reveals that “children need 30 minutes of physical fitness everyday. ” It will take a long time to reform childhood obesity but it is better to do it now then later. Sadly, Davies’ states: “overweight kids of today become overweight adults of tomorrow” (117). Writing this essay, helped me learn about the importance of having a nutritional meal for me and my future kids. I will start setting a great example by making sure my diet is consistent and becoming more active by creating more outdoor activities.