Obesity is a growing epidemic not only in the United States, but in the rest of the world as well. And doctors are starting to notice that obesity is starting earlier and earlier in life. In the past, obesity was typically seen in people who were middle-aged or older. But now, there is a growing concern about children who are obese or are on their way to becoming obese. The reasons are varied and many but include such things as: less time outdoors and more time spent indoors; less time exercising and more time playing video games, watching TV, or time spent on the computer; and more “latchkey" kids who spend their time after school in an after school program or in day care.
As our society changes, fewer and fewer children are outside playing. I remember only 20 to 30 years ago, large number of children in the neighborhood outside after school and all summer long playing together. There were impromptu games of kick the can, hide and seek, chase, kickball, stickball, basketball, and others. Our neighborhoods were safe and all the families and parents knew each other. In today's society, parents are afraid to let their children outside to play and neighbors don't spend the time to get to know each other. This means more children and staying inside doing sedentary activities and gaining weight. This adds to the obesity problem.
The advent of computers, the internet, and video games are also exacerbating the problem of childhood obesity. Video games and computer games are readily available, easy to play, and visually stimulating and exciting. A child doesn't have to head outside and find some friends and decide on what to play. They can pop in a CD or DVD, fire up the Xbox and be transported to another place where they can play against a computer or another person that they don't know. Video games burn little to no calories and add not only to the obesity problem, but also to mental and social problems that our society also has to deal with.
We need to find a solution and find one quickly to help combat the growing problem of childhood obesity. We need to get kids outside to play. We, as humans, are designed to play, run, and be active. It is not natural for a child to sit still for hours at a time. But this is what our high tech life styles demand. Children are designed for activity and if we can get them active, we are well on our way to solving the childhood obesity problem.
Dean Novosat writes about the problems and solutions for obesity and weight control at http://www.obesityantidote.com