Childhood Obesity | Teen Ink

Childhood Obesity

June 3, 2008
By Anonymous

What is wrong with America’s children? Why is it that such an appalling percentage of the youth of the United States is obese, overweight, or in danger of becoming so? Childhood obesity is a huge problem in our country today and is only getting worse, but there are solutions. America is “tailor-made” for overweight kids; fast-food producing slow kids, eating becoming easy as 1-2-refrigerator. Something must be done about this. Childhood obesity is caused chiefly by less activity, specifically physical, sedentary behavior, and inconsistent eating habits; parents can help by changing their own eating habits, and schools can also contribute through more specific and rigorous programs.

The reasons for less activity are as weak as the children formed by this life-style: kids spend exponentially more time on computers, watching TV, or playing their “X-BOX” than the period spent outside. Parents can help prevent this meaningless waste of time. A physically healthy home life is crucial in a healthy child’s development, and considering that 35% of parents rated their children’s school programs for teaching good patterns of eating and physical activity to prevent obesity as "poor," "non-existent," or "don't know”, the fight against obesity needs to start at home.
In schools, awareness of this problem is present, but no action is underway. Physical Education in school is not a strenuous class for students, there are generally no requirements and few benchmarks that must be met. But the key to health in the schools of America can be found in the cafeteria. The food offered to students in lunch rooms is commonly not healthy or high-quality, the state and school board need to step up and change the unhealthy diets of kids as much as is under their control.
Furthermore, most adolescents view physical activity as a punishment, this prevents activity from taking place outside of the school day. There should be unstructured activity as well as the instructed times in class, encouraging a long-lasting, healthy life-style. Competitive sports can also “turn-off” the youth of America that lacks the competitive nature that drives natural athletes, so educators can avoid competition in classes.
National health is an enterprise that can be enhanced slowly and through small acts. Obesity can not be fixed in a single stroke, but in a series of them.

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