Obesity issues are a significant threat in many cases when it comes to the way people are brought up throughout their childhood. Being raised unhealthy can cause bad habits to develop on whilst healthy options like physical outdoor activities could seem unusual and unfamiliar. Almost 65% of obese adolescents will still be obese as adults, regardless if neither parent is obese. I myself had a past of unhealthy habits leading to me being an overweight teenager through early high school. Once I broke this habit I’ve become more confident and conscious on maintaining a healthy balance in life.
This issue of obesity is a current day problem however options are available to people that can relate to the issues and that seek change.
At an early age, the parent-child relationship is crucial. Children seek guidance and attention and use it to develop an understanding of what’s right and wrong. Issues of obesity tend to occur when the communication and bonding between the parent and child is lacking, or it could also result when the parents communicate their unhealthy lifestyle upon their children.
“Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from it.”
A great example regarding the lack of communication and bonding would be through outdoor activities. One scenario in particular that our group had developed on was the relationship between father and son and their football issue. The child wanted his father to teach him how to play, but instead his father tells him to watch the game rather then play it. So this then becomes a habit for the boy and as he gets older he become more comfortable being lazy and inactive as apart of his lifestyle. As the years go by the now much older teenager looks back and sees another father – son pair playing football and then says to himself that he ‘cannot be bothered’.
This situation could be portrayed through any given sport as the message remains the same; parents have a major influence to their kid’s lifestyle, having a direct effect on their health and well-being, enabling a foundation of habits at a young age that will follow through future years.
A solution to this is simple; parents need to provide a healthier environment for their children. With reference to the previous example, parents must provide more of a balance between a healthy and a nurturing lifestyle. A reasonable solution to the example could have been if the father provided both the outside activity to the child aswell as the leisure time that the adult prefers. If this were the case the child would develop a lifestyle that consists of a steady balance between non-physical and physical activities. At least then the child will be aware of physical activity and how it could benefit them later in their life.
My own personal experience with health and fitness at a young age led me to be an overweight teenager throughout mid high school. No motivation or encouragement at the time was given to me to get active or to watch what I was consuming. What I found was that parents tended to treat their kids to sweets and unhealthy foods without any attention to the harms it can cause for the long run if not taken in moderation. If obesity were to be an issue for someone it would be more of a difficult thing to fix when you have no past history of physical activity or healthy eating. Fortunately I was lucky enough to do something about it before it got too serious. The first few changes I had made were towards the lifestyle that I had lived within our house. Regarding food, I had cut back on the traditional weekly food orders such as Friday fish n’ chips and Sunday for fast food. As I told my parents about my goal they were behind it a lot, offering alternative meals and anything else I would need. When it came down to physical activity, this was when I searched for a sport I could actively participate in. I tried tennis, soccer and football and out of the three I ended up sticking with tennis still to this day. If it weren’t for finding a hobby such as tennis I wouldn’t know where my health would be at to this day. Finding something that could benefit my physical health at a young age was such a beneficial thing for me as I then set a foundation for a healthy lifestyle by doing something I enjoy.
Regardless if I stopped playing tennis after a certain time, I would still be able to consider it as an option if aspects of my health became an issue.
With this personal experience on upbringing and its influence on health we see how food consumption and hobbies such as sports can play a role in a healthier lifestyle. However, parents play a vital part to this in the way that they should be providing these things for their kids. I say this because kids need support, they can’t act individually unless they find someone to guide them. Whether it would be setting up training lessons for their kids to see what sport they may like or even just providing healthier foods to them, support is critical.
As parents are shown to be major roles for children growing up healthy, the school system aswell plays a big influence. The issue focuses around the question of ‘what if parents cannot express the support these kids need’. The solution should be through the education schools should provide these kids. If kids cant find out from their parents, schools should educate on the harms of obesity and all the possible options available to them that can prevent it from ever being an issue to them. At least then children will be educated at a young age of the harms it can cause to you, allowing them to act on it as soon as they can.
A child’s upbringing is the set foundation of how an individual will develop towards their adulthood. By eliminating the factors that can lead to an unhealthy lifestyle through educating and bonding, children can maintain a healthy life from an early age that will continue on as they grow up.
– “Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old, he will not depart from It.” – Public Health Ethics (2008) 1 (1): 21-29. –