You asked

What are the chief causes of childhood obesity?

Childhood obesity affects one in every six children and is a precursor to developing potentially fatal diseases as an adult. A child who is considered obese is more likely to develop asthma, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease, and kidney disease
The physical well-being of the child is not the only concern. Children who are overweight suffer great emotional distress from not fitting in. Other children tease them and society in general looks down on them. These factors often bring on depression.

How did our kids get to this point? There are several reasons.

Today’s fast-paced lifestyle means more children are eating fast food that is not nutritious. The easy availability of packaged foods, high-calorie snacks, and soda has dramatically added to the number of children who are obese. Today’s kids have sedentary lifestyles compared to children even 30 years ago. If they are not watching TV, they are playing video games or on the computer. Additionally, many schools have done away with physical education classes due to budget constraints.

The good news is that public awareness of childhood obesity is on the rise. Many state governments have enacted legislation to remove non-nutritious foods from schools and monitor school lunches for their nutritional value. However, when a child is at home, only the parent can monitor their child’s diet and exercise. We can only hope that parents will join in the fight against childhood obesity.

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