Food Issues

Food Issues: Food issues among children in the world include the difficulty to properly dispense food, especially to countries with no way to feed the starving children.The wasted of food at grocery stores, restaurants and cafes, and personal homes leads to a questionable ethic of our country when there are children in Africa dying everyday of starvation. Another danger for children includes a poor diet which can lead to childhood obesity which has dramatically increased over the years causing serious health and emotional issues among children leading into adulthood.

Key Words: Food Waste, Starvation, and Obesity

According to the research done by the AACAP: The problem of childhood obesity in the United States has grown considerably in recent years. Between 16 and 33 percent of children and adolescents are obese.  Obesity is among the easiest medical conditions to recognize but most difficult to treat.  Unhealthy weight gain due to poor diet and lack of exercise is responsible for over 300,000 deaths each year.  The annual cost to society for obesity is estimated at nearly $100 billion.  Overweight children are much more likely to become overweight adults unless they adopt and maintain healthier patterns of eating and exercise.

What is obesity? 
A few extra pounds does not suggest obesity.  However they may indicate a tendency to gain weight easily and a need for changes in diet and/or exercise.  Generally, a child is not considered obese until the weight is at least 10 percent higher than what is recommended for their height and body type.  Obesity most commonly begins between the ages of 5 and 6, or during adolescence.  Studies have shown that a child who is obese between the ages of 10 and 13 has an 80 percent chance of becoming an obese adult.

What causes obesity? 
The causes of obesity are complex and include genetic, biological, behavioral and cultural factors.  Obesity occurs when a person eats more calories than the body burns up.  If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese.  However, when both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese.  Although certain medical disorders can cause obesity, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems.  Obesity in childhood and adolescence can be related to:

  • poor eating habits
  • overeating or binging
  • lack of exercise (i.e., couch potato kids)
  • family history of obesity
  • medical illnesses (endocrine, neurological problems)
  • medications (steroids, some psychiatric medications)
  • stressful life events or changes (separations, divorce, moves, deaths, abuse)
  • family and peer problems
  • low self-esteem
  • depression or other emotional problems

What are risks and complications of obesity? 
There are many risks and complications with obesity.  Physical consequences include:

  • increased risk of heart disease
  • high blood pressure
  • diabetes
  • breathing problems
  • trouble sleeping

Child and adolescent obesity is also associated with increased risk of emotional problems.  Teens with weight problems tend to have much lower self-esteem and be less popular with their peers.  Depression, anxiety, and obsessive compulsive disorder can also occur.

How can obesity be managed and treated? 
Obese children need a thorough medical evaluation by a pediatrician or family physician  to consider the possibility of a physical cause.  In the absence of a physical disorder, the only way to lose weight is to reduce the number of calories being eaten and to increase the level of physical activity.  Lasting weight loss can only occur when there is self-motivation.  Since obesity often affects more than one family member, making healthy eating and regular exercise a family activity can improve the chances of successful weight control for the child or adolescent.

Ways to manage obesity in children and adolescents include:

  • start a weight-management program
  • change eating habits (eat slowly, develop a routine)
  • plan meals and make better food selections (eat less fatty foods, avoid junk and fast foods)
  • control portions and consume less calories
  • increase physical activity (especially walking) and have a more active lifestyle
  • know what your child eats at school
  • eat meals as a family instead of while watching television or at the computer
  • do not use food as a reward
  • limit snacking
  • attend a support group (e.g., Overeaters Anonymous)

Obesity frequently becomes a lifelong issue.  The reason most obese adolescents gain back their lost pounds is that they tend to go back to their old habits of eating and exercising.  An obese adolescent must therefore learn to eat and enjoy healthy foods in moderate amounts and to exercise regularly to maintain a desired weight.  Parents of an obese child can improve their child’s self esteem by emphasizing their strengths and positive qualities rather than just focusing on their weight problem.

This is a news report on child “dia-besity”. The problems that are caused from obesity among children.

My Personal Overview: Obesity can mainly be caused by overeating, lack of exercise, intake of unhealthy foods and a poor diet, and passed down genetically from parents with obesity problems and diabetes issues. There has been a major increase of child obesity in America due the poor diet choices the parents allow and the lack of physical exercise the parents do not encourage their children to partake in. Children with obesity are more likely to be overweight in adulthood and have more life threatening issues that are due to being overweight. Emotional issues can also come about from being obese possibly causing depression. Children and adolescents have no way of controlling their own diet, they will eat whatever their parents allow them and follow the examples that are set. Bad eating habits will most likely continue to adulthood unless the parents set up a more healthy food intake for them. Obesity is a preventable disease by encouraging a more healthy and nutritious diet and being an active child everyday, allowing the body to burn the proper amount of food that the child intakes. Although the proper diet and exercise is an easy solution to prevent obesity, some families don’t have the access to healthy foods. Since most fast food restaurants are the fastest and cheapest way to get food for families that lack time and money, it’s an easier choice for them to order off the dollar menu. This puts a kink in the solution to preventing obesity in children among families that lack the means for a healthy diet. With this knowledge and many controversies of the dollar menu leading to obesity, Fast food restaurants are offering more healthy options for people to choose from. Problem is getting the people who have a habit of ordering unhealthy items to change their way of ordering. Main thing to stop obesity in children is for the parents to take the lead and start a trend of eating healthy nutritious items.

According to Wikipedia: Food waste or food loss is food that is discarded or lost uneaten. As of 2011, 1.3 billion tons of food, about one third of the global food production, are lost or wasted annually. Loss and wastage occurs on all steps in the food supply chain. In low-income countries most loss occurs during production, while in developed countries much food, about 100 kilograms (220 lbs) per person and year, is wasted at the consumption stage.

Food loss and waste per person and year Total At the production and retail stages By consumers
Europe 280 kg (620 lb) 190 kg (420 lb) 90 kg (200 lb)
North America and Oceania 295 kg (650 lb) 185 kg (410 lb) 110 kg (240 lb)
Industrialized Asia 240 kg (530 lb) 160 kg (350 lb) 80 kg (180 lb)
Subsaharan Africa 160 kg (350 lb) 155 kg (340 lb) 5 kg (11 lb)
North Africa, West and Central Asia 215 kg (470 lb) 180 kg (400 lb) 35 kg (77 lb)
South and Southeast Asia 125 kg (280 lb) 110 kg (240 lb) 15 kg (33 lb)
Latin America 225 kg (500 lb) 200 kg (440 lb) 25 kg (55 lb)

One Country’s Table Scraps, Another Country’s Meal

By Andrew Martin

Grocery bills are rising through the roof. Food banks are running short of donations. And food shortages are causing sporadic riots in poor countries through the world.

You’d never know it if you saw what was ending up in your landfill. As it turns out, Americans waste an astounding amount of food — an estimated 27 percent of the food available for consumption, according to a government study — and it happens at the supermarket, in restaurants and cafeterias and in your very own kitchen. It works out to about a pound of food every day for every American.

Grocery stores discard products because of spoilage or minor cosmetic blemishes. Restaurants throw away what they don’t use. And consumers toss out everything from bananas that have turned brown to last week’s Chinese leftovers. In 1997, in one of the few studies of food waste, the Department of Agriculture estimated that two years before, 96.4 billion pounds of the 356 billion pounds of edible food in the United States was never eaten. Fresh produce, milk, grain products and sweeteners made up two-thirds of the waste.

Disposal: Dumping food waste in a landfill causes odor as it decomposes, attracts flies and vermin, and has the potential to add biological oxygen demand (BOD) to the leachate. The EU Landfill Directive and Waste Regulations, like regulations in other countries, enjoin diverting organic wastes away from landfill disposal for these reasons. In countries such as the US and the UK, food scraps constitute around 19% of the waste dumped in landfills, where it ends up rotting and producing methane, a greenhouse gas.

This video shows the amount of food we throw away and the steps we can take to prevent food going to waste.

Personal Overview: Food waste not only leads to methane, it’s a major waste of resources which should be preserved or disposed of properly. A majority of food that is being thrown away by personal households and by establishments are still edible. Most of the food goes to waste due to the over purchasing of foods, with a more set volume of food at original purchase there will be less waste, just more trips to the grocery store. Preventatives to food waste can be taken in order to preserve the food that we have, it will save you money too. The new campaign “Define Necessity” is showing the want versus need outlook on the way we purchase food. We purchase food for long periods of time rather than getting what we need and going back when we need more.

According to UNICEF

Famine crisis in Somalia: The Horn of Africa is experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. In Somalia, famine has been declared in multiple regions — areas where 10% of the children under five die every 3 months. Severe malnutrition rates are the reality in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia, where thousands of families are arriving daily to escape violence and starvation in Somalia.

The current situation represents the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today and Africa’s worst food security crisis since Somalia’s famine twenty years ago.

A silent killer

Somalia is not the only place where children are starving.

Malnutrition is the underlying cause of more than 1/3 of all childhood deaths. Prices for basic food like rice, maize, wheat, oil, sugar and salt are skyrocketing, forcing millions of the world’s poorest children into severe malnourishment and starvation.

In much of the world, children with full bellies are still lacking the nutrients and vitamins they need to grow to their full potential.  A malnourished child is less able to fight off illness, less likely to get the most out of schooling, and often becomes physically and mentally stunted. Malnutrition keeps children trapped in the cycle of poverty.

7 Facts of malnutrition and starvation:

  • 1 in 10 Infants die within the first 12 months of life
  • 1 in 5 children suffer from chronic malnutrition
  • More than 12 cases a month of Marasmus or Kwashiorkor are seen in one 
clinic in Alexander
  • 1 in 10 children suffers from severe malnutrition
  • 50% of children have a calcium, iron and zinc deficiency
  • 75% of South Africans, have inadequate access to food
  • More than 1 in 5 children are physically stunted due to malnutrition

A video of UNICEF efforts to help send food to starving children in Somalia.

Personal Overview: These children in less fortunate countries are dying every minute while we have a surplus of food that goes to waste everyday. While countries including the United states has an issue with food waste and obesity among children, countries such as Africa have issues with starvation. With the technology and capability we have today, we can find a solution to the growing malnutrition of the children in the world.

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