Cause-and-Effect Essay


Write a 6-8 page academic argument on the cause and effect of childhood obesity. The requirements are a Thesis Statement, Topic sentences, Content and context, Evidence, and sources. The argument must carefully consider relevant, educated opposing views or “They Says” The argument should incorporate a minimum of 8 credible secondary sources, 6 of which must have originated in print and at least 2 of which must be scholarly journal articles. Each source should be fairly and accurately represented in the text of the paper as well as on a Works Cited Page.


Cause and Effect argument of Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity has become an epidemic in most advanced countries such as the United States. It is caused by a number of factors, including physical inactivity, genetic factors, diet, and socioeconomic environment. This condition has serious consequences for children, including increased morbidity and mortality. Moreover, children with obesity tend to suffer numerous psychosocial problems such as depression, low quality of life, and low self-esteem. Everyone in society has a crucial role to play in ensuring that this epidemic is dealt with conclusively. Moreover, healthcare providers are in a unique position to provide family and patient education as well as direct care. The aim of this paper is to analyze the causes and effects of childhood obesity. It is based on the thesis that physical inactivity is the main cause of childhood obesity.


The issue of childhood obesity has attracted a heated debate in recent years. Given that most of the affected children are in developed countries, many people argue that socioeconomic factors have played a critical role in the emergence of this condition (Paxon 19). In this debate, the media has been on the spotlight for glorifying poor eating habits through advertising (Paxon 32). Many children learn about junk food through media adverts. Children who are exposed to these adverts fail to heed the advice of their parents and instead choose to engage in the feeding habits being glorified on TV or through billboards. The causes of obesity that have been subjected to the ongoing debate for the longest time include physical inactivity, diet, and mass media. This paper focuses on the physical inactivity as the main cause of childhood obesity.

These days, children spend fewer hours per day engaging in physical activities. They prefer to sit around watching TV or playing computer games. Similarly, fewer children are participating in physical education in school. According to Acton, the number of high school students participating in physical education has declined by as much as 30 percent (25). Such a reduction in physical activity at school and at home greatly contributes to the problem of childhood obesity. In recent years, federal and state authorities have started increasing pressure on schools to promote physical education classes.

According to Farooqi, physical inactivity is widely recognized as the leading contributor of obesity (32). Farooqi mentions a 2004 study in which the rate of blood flow among obese children was significantly reduced by engaging in physical exercises (33). Farooqi reports that in this study, the rate of blood flow among the obese children increased dramatically after they started engaging in aerobic exercises 3 hours per week for 8 weeks (33).

Research suggests that physical activity increases the resting metabolic rate and energy expenditure, thereby reducing the risk of obesity (Lobstein 571). Although some controversy has arisen regarding the impact of physical inactivity on obesity, it seems that children who are physically inactive most of the time are at risk of becoming obese. Apart from preventing obesity, physical activity is beneficial for both the physiological and psychological development of the child. It is for this reason that many governments in advanced societies are keen to introduce programs that encourage children to become more engaged in physical education. These programs are being implemented in family settings, schools, and local communities. The results of these efforts suggest that there is hope with regard to strategies aimed at preventing children obesity (Lobstein 571).

Many developed societies have been accused of promoting cultures that deny children the opportunity to engage in physical activities (Waters 117). Consequently, most of the policy changes that have been adopted in these societies are in response to this criticism (Waters 126). By introducing numerous educational programs that stress the importance of physical exercises, these societies hope to deal with the problem of childhood obesity before it gets out of hand.

Most of the arguments on the effect of physical inactivity on childhood obesity are based on the principle of energy balance. This principle states that when the intake of energy is higher than the energy that the child expends, the result is weight gain. Energy intake depends entirely on dietary consumption. On the other hand, energy expenditure is influenced by several factors, with the dominant one being physical activity. This explains why both physical activity and dietary patterns have been identified as crucial interventions in efforts to prevent obesity.

It is important to target physical activity patterns among children because this provides the best opportunity for parents, teachers, and the entire society to inculcate the right patterns of physical activities that will be beneficial to children throughout their lives. Moreover, physical activity provides many other benefits apart from preventing obesity. It improves the entire composition of the body in terms of social and psychological wellbeing.

When children fail to integrate intense physical activities into their everyday lives, obesity is likely to occur. Some of these activities include biking and walking instead of taking a bus or using the lift. Physical activities that take the form of everyday habits are better than those that take the form of short bouts of intense exercise.

In recent years, numerous changes in technology have occurred. These changes have greatly influenced the level of physical activity among children. In the contemporary environment, particularly in developed countries, opportunities for engaging in physical activities have decreased considerably. Children are being dropped at the school gate by their parents’ cars or by the school bus. It is also becoming increasingly common for children to go to school by public means of transport. In each of these cases, the need to go to school by foot does not arise. This way, children are being denied a unique opportunity to integrate a crucial physical activity into their daily routines.

Research evidence shows that children tend to spend more time engaging in physical activity during time spent away from schools such as during holidays and weekends (Warren 52). During this time, the children are likely to be distracted by the numerous tools of technology that are readily accessible today such as television, smartphones, and computer games. These distractions also make it impossible for children to develop a culture of intense physical exercises.

It is generally agreed that watching television a lot can contribute to the onset of obesity among children. Children who spend too much time watching television tend to have little or no time for physical activity. This exposes them to a phenomenon in which too much unused energy is being accumulated in their bodies. Such children rarely expend the energy that gets into their bodies by eating food. Therefore, their bodies to establish a positive energy balance, thereby leading to the onset of childhood obesity.

Today, the television is increasingly being replaced by the internet as the main cause of physical inactivity among children. When children are introduced to the internet, they easily get carried away by the endless virtual world of social media and entertainment. Moreover, instead of walking to the nearby library in the search for books, the children simply turn on their laptops and personal computers to gain access to online libraries. This denies them numerous opportunities of remaining physically active even as they go about their day-to-day activities.

In many ways, the culture of physical inactivity in the contemporary world of TV and internet is a reflection of far-reaching changes in socio-economic environment. The children of today are simply emulating the passive lifestyles of their parents. In the modern age, majority of the global population is moving towards urban areas. According to Poskitt, urban areas provide few opportunities for children to engage in physical exercises mainly because of lack of sufficient recreational facilities (72). In some cases, parents simply frown at the idea of their children going outdoors for fear that they might fall into bad company.

Physical activity also contributes to a high rate of substrate metabolism in the body (Poskitt 72). Poskitt argues that this encourages the body to use fat for fuel utilization (72). This means that fewer carbohydrates are used relative to fat during physical exercises among children. Conversely, children who do not engage in physical activity tend to use more carbohydrates for fuel utilization relative to fat. This means that their bodies do not make use the fat that may have accumulated in their bodies, thereby leading to the onset of childhood obesity.

Energy expenditure relating to physical activity is the most variable dimension in the child’s daily expenditure. Therefore, it plays a critical role in the goal of energy regulation. When children fail to engage in physical activity, they suppress a critical variable that ought to play a central role in the way energy is expended in the body. Consequently, the affected child faces a higher risk of becoming obese.

Children should engage in different types of physical exercises in order to keep obesity at bay. Aerobic exercises are often preferred because of the way they enable children maintain fitness as well as a positive energy balance in the body. Strength training also helps the body trigger a process of substrate metabolism, thereby leading to increased reliance on fat as a source of energy for physical activity. This leads to a drastic reduction in the risk of obesity particularly among pre-puberty children.

O’Dea points out that research on physical activity as a way of preventing childhood obesity has provided extremely promising results (107). A clear association between physical inactivity and the onset of obesity seems to have been identified. However, further research needs to be geared towards an assessment of the impact of various types of exercises on efforts to regulate body weight among children. This way, policymakers will arrive at the best solution for obese children who intend to lose weight in order to resume their normal lives as well as to do away with the loss of esteem and stigma that comes with being obese.

In conclusion, a clear cause-and-effect relationship between physical inactivity and obesity seems to exist. Today, technological advances have greatly contributed to physical inactivity among children. Since the invention of the television, children spend many hours sitting on the couch watching one program after the other. This passive lifestyle makes it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the body of the child to establish a positive energy balance, thereby leading to the onset of childhood obesity. The discussion made in this paper has confirmed the thesis that physical inactivity is the main cause of childhood obesity.

Works Cited

Acton, Ashton. Obesity: New Insights for the Healthcare Professional: 2013 Edition. Atlanta: Scholarly Editions, 2013. Print.

Farooqi, Sadaf. Recent advances in the genetics of severe childhood obesity. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 53 (2000): 31-34.

Lobstein, Theo. Policies to prevent childhood obesity in the European Union. European Journal of Public Health, 15.6 (2005): 576-579.

O’Dea, Jennifer. Childhood Obesity Prevention: International Research, Controversies, and interventions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Print.

Paxon, Christina. Childhood Obesity. London: Routledge, 2006. Print.

Poskitt, ‎Elizabeth. Management of Childhood Obesity. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2008. Print.

Warren, Jacob. Always the Fat Kid: The Truth About the Enduring Effects of Childhood Obesity. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013. Print.

Waters, Elizabeth. Preventing Childhood Obesity: Evidence Policy and Practice. Boston: Harvard University Press, 2012. Print.

Williams, Jerome. Advances in Communication Research to Reduce Childhood Obesity. New York: Springer, 2013. Print.

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