Why Bigger Isn't Always Better

December 27, 2010
By Hannah Briere BRONZE, Wilmington, Massachusetts
Hannah Briere BRONZE, Wilmington, Massachusetts
2 articles 0 photos 0 comments

As children’s waistlines continue to grow, so does the problem of childhood obesity. Whether you are walking down the halls of your school or at the mall, you see a staggering number of overweight youth. Obesity has increased immensely in the past thirty years, causing countless health risks, both physical and emotional. Sadly, scientists and doctors predict this generation of people to be the first to have a shorter life expectancy then their parents due to their weights. Obesity is a problem that must be solved because it affects millions of people, many of them children, in our country alone.

Since 1980, obesity in children has nearly tripled. This is due to a higher calorie intake disproportionate to the amount of exercise sustained. Advances in television, video games and systems, and computers have kept kids on the couch instead of outside. When children are absorbed to the program they are watching they are much less apt to pay attention to portion control and end up eating an entire bag of chips without noticing it. Just getting children outdoors and limiting snack intake would seem like a small lifestyle change but could really affect the health of children.

Excess weight can also lead to health problems; inevitably causing death. Seventy percent of obese children have high cholesterol and blood pressure; two risks of cardiovascular disease. Bone and joint pain as well as sleep apnea are more side affects of being overweight. Obese children are more likely then normal-weight children to become overweight or obese adults, running the risk of even more diseases such as heart disease, Type 2 Diabetes, stroke, various types of cancers, and osteoarthritis. Children can also suffer psychologically. Poor-self esteem could branch off from the limitation of participation in activities that healthy kids can easily do, such as sports. Being ridiculed by peers and pressures from images in society can also lead to stigmatization.

Many people and corporations could be blamed in the causes of childhood obesity. From personal experience, it is easy to see where people are coming from when they blame video game corporations. Teenage boys could play Call of Duty for countless hours due to the intense graphics, levels, and ability to play with friends online. Others would blame fast food corporations like McDonald’s or Burger King due to their in some cases disgusting ingredients in food and advertising that leaves you craving it. However, this late in the epidemic of obesity, it doesn’t make sense to just point fingers. The nation must act in creating a healthy environment for children. Government campaigns like Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” encourage America’s youth to lead an active lifestyle. Simply replacing fruits and vegetables for processed foods with additive can help children maintain a healthy diet. As a teenager myself, I do see where healthy can be confusing for people. America is a country of extremes; morbidly obese people contrasted by the rail-thin actresses many strive to look like. Being healthy is different for everybody, and looks different for everybody.

From the causes of obesity, to the risks, and finally how we can change it, it is still a huge problem across the country. It is something that cannot be ignored for it accounts for widespread diseases and deaths. Small changes in each families’ lifestyles can lead to big changes in the long run for their health.

Works Cited

"Childhood Obesity - DASH/HealthyYouth." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC, 3 June 2010. Web. 27 Dec. 2010. <http://www.cdc.gov/HealthyYouth/obesity/>.
"Obesity and Overweight for Professionals: Childhood | DNPAO | CDC." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC. Web. 27 Dec. 2010. <http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/index.html>.

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