Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Obesity This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     The war on obesity is beginning to center on adolescents in America as they grow heavier each year. Obesity is a serious health issue that has grown to epidemic status. Being overweight and physically inactive accounts for more than 300,000 premature deaths each year, second only to tobacco-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Childhood obesity is more than just the embarrassment of buying larger clothing or feeling self-conscious in gym class, it can lead to life-threatening problems. To prevent an unhealthy adult life, teens need to start fighting today.

The CDC shows that up to 30 percent of adult obesity cases begin with pediatric obesity. This leads to the question of how this problem reached epidemic status. Many believe obesity is a result of behavioral habits, but it is important to note that there are a number of factors. Weight gain that leads to obesity is defined by the British Columbia Medical Association as consuming a higher caloric intake than the body needs, most commonly by eating a diet high in fat and calories coupled with a lack of activity. This imbalance between calories consumed and calories burned is also caused by genetic, hormonal, and cultural factors, according to the Endocrine Society and Hormone Foundation. Researchers are constantly seeking reasons for obesity with recent studies of metabolism, appetite and satisfaction.

Whatever the cause, obesity is dangerous and has serious consequences. It may create bone, liver, and respiratory problems, as well as increase the risk for diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, sleep apnea, and some types of cancer. Being obese as a child also affects the transition into adulthood, creating poor self-esteem, depression, and early puberty. As reported by the University of Michigan Health System, the proportion of overweight children ages 6-11 has more than doubled, while the rate for ages 12-19 has tripled. In an attempt to stress the severity, the director of the CDC proclaimed that obesity should be taken as seriously as any infectious disease epidemic. A national effort is needed to control this epidemic.

Many children have already faced the devastations of obesity. Children like Sarah from The Highly Healthy Child by Dr. Walt Larimore have fallen victim to the epidemic. Dr. Larimore tracks Sarah’s struggle from an overweight three-year-old with poor eating habits to an eight-year-old hospitalized for diabetes, to a 10-year-old developing high blood pressure, and then a 14-year-old whose body gave out. Sarah fell into a diabetic coma that led to a massive heart attack and death. Though extreme, her case shows how serious obesity can be. A study released in 2005 by the University of Michigan Health System suggests that the average life expectancy could decline by five years if the rising rate of obesity is not slowed.

Obesity is controllable and even preventable by taking simple steps that include improving nutrition and increasing physical activity. Specifically, it is important to eat right. Avoid junk food in favor of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. This may be difficult because many foods designed to appeal to us have little or no health benefits and are high in calories. Also, limit your time watching TV, playing video games, IM-ing friends and even driving. Try to be more physically active. Young children should engage in at least 30 minutes of rigorous physical activity daily and at least 60 minutes of moderate physical activity. If you’re currently inactive, gradually increase activity. Don’t focus on weight but on healthy choices.

Obesity is an important issue for teens. Begin the war against this epidemic for a more promising, healthy future. When faced with a climb up the stairs or a ride in the elevator, take the stairs. And when craving something sweet don’t reach for a doughnut, pick up an apple instead. To change the course of this epidemic, America must change as a society, and the change begins with us.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

kab503 said...
Oct. 28, 2010 at 1:40 pm
Why is the government trying to stop obesity? I am not a big favorite of obesity, but no one should be biased of people because of their weight. Yes, fat people are criticized of their weight but they should not care what other people think. Their bodies are the ones becoming large so we should worry about their eating habits, and if they plan on losing weight.
 
rukiya replied...
Nov. 2, 2014 at 8:16 pm
Yeah kab503 youre right! Yes it's easy for us to say that don't be affected of what people say, but as an individual I can only suggest that you should always put into your mind that nothing's perfect.   <a href="flymesocial.com/youtube/subscribers/">how to get more youtube subscribers</a>
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback