Childhood obesity is both a health and a social issue.
It is a health issue because obesity is the root cause for many diseases in adulthood. Diabetes and hypertension are just two examples which lead to other life-threatening complications. If obesity cannot be countered during childhood, then there is the risk that it will be carried over to adulthood due to unabated and unhealthy eating habits. Childhood obesity is also a social issue because of the negative attitude some people may have against fat people. Obese children suffer the additional burden of being prone to bullying and isolation from their peers because they cannot participate in the same activities due to their weight and size. Such bullying and isolation may leave permanent scars to damage a person’s self image and self esteem which, again, may be carried over to adulthood.
Parents of obese children must act now to instill healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle. The government and schools must also implement programs to nip this problem in the bud before its too late. The consumption of fast foods and other high-calorie meals should be discouraged, and activities geared towards sports and exercise should be encouraged.
On the other side of the coin, there are the manufacturers of these high-calorie foods who question the campaign against their products, invoking the right of the free market to have their demands supplied. The response is simple: no one is banning their products – the consumption is simply being discouraged. No one is addressing the entire free market – the campaign is merely addressed to parents and schools who are tasked to discipline children, and curb their eating habits.
The perfect balance to sidestep the issue would be to allow fast food and soft drink companies to continue advertising their business, parents and schools should not ban consumption of their products, but should monitor such consumption so it does not develop into a learned bad habit for the youth.