The epidemic of obesity impacts us personally and it also impacts our communities. As a child I remember that I participated in teasing those children that were overweight. This is a common tendency with children, causing problems in addition to the physical health problems of obesity. Because there are a greater number of obese children, there are also many new problems, such as increased Type II diabetes in childhood and adolescence. The health problems that come with obesity can also become economic and social problems due to the costs of health treatment. For children who are obese the impacts can be lifelong, as they are far more likely to remain obese.
One contributing factor to childhood obesity is the increased access to media including television, game systems and the Internet. When children are less activity, but do not reduced their calorie intake, the result is increased weight. Preventative measures should therefore include ensuring that children get time for active play on a daily basis and educating children with regard to the health problems of obesity that can be caused when active play and exercise are not part of a child’s routine.
A sociological theory that relates to the rise of obesity due to the decrease in exercise and active play due to video games, TV and the Internet is social cognitive theory. This clarifies why the behavior and the resulting obesity have quickly spread. In social cognitive theory, people watch others and model their behavior. Children see older siblings and adults watching television and other media activities that do not involve exercise and then they imitate that behavior. The rise of the entertainment media is explained through social cognitive theory as others copied the new norm of extensive periods sitting still and being entertained. When this behavior became a social norm, so did childhood obesity.