GEN 499 Week 5 Final Paper Childhood Obesity Childcare Programs Fighting the Epidemic
Childhood Obesity – Childcare Programs Fighting the Epidemic
First Lady Michelle Obama opened the Let’s Move campaign in 2010 by telling us that “Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese” (Let’s Move, n.d.). Rates of childhood obesity continue to rise in the United States. The percentage of young children ages 6–11 years in the United States who was 18% in 2012from 7% in 1980. Additionally, the percentage of pre-teen and teenagers ages 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. (CDC, n.d.) Even among infants, toddlers and preschoolers the prevalence of obesity is alarmingly high. A large percentage of children ages six weeks old to eleven years old are enrolled in some sort of a child care program, and the amount of time children spend in child care programs each week has increased over the years. Even though parents are ultimately responsible for their children not educators, early childhood educators have the unique position and ability to help reduce the childhood obesity epidemic because early childhood educators spend large amounts of time with children, have the chance to be a good role model, and have the opportunity to help teach children healthy habits to last a lifetime.
Before early childhood educators can help reduce the childhood obesity epidemic they must first understand what obesity is and how it is diagnosed. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that overweight is defined as “having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water, or a combination of these factors” and “obesity is defined as having excess body fat” (CDC, n.d.).Crowie adds that...