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Child Obesity

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According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the amount of children overweight has more than doubled in the last thirty years and tripled in adolescents. (Anonymous) This has a major impact on the lives of these students and has both immediate and long term such effects. This includes diabetes, bone and joint problems, and social/psychological problems such as low self esteem. This is a major issue and is caused by unhealthy habits of overeating, eating junk food and fast food, and a lack of physical activity. Many students are unaware of the effects of what they are eating and how it harms their life. In a news article called “Preventing overweight and obesity”, they say “the most effective way to win the war on obesity is to intensify efforts to prevent overweight and obesity among children, adolescents, and adults. They assert that over time prevention is far more cost effective than the expenditures associated with weight-loss efforts and medical treatment of obesity-related diseases.”(Barbra Wexler)
In order for students to make healthy decisions, they need to have the knowledge to do so. This is supposed to be given to students when they take health class in middle or high school. These classes are often not entertaining and don’t hold the interest of the students. Health class in the United States is often reading out of a boring text book and taking notes. If they do not want to learn about healthy habits, how are they ever going to be successful in making the right decisions when it comes to their health? A news article from the CDC says, “School health programs can help children and adolescents attain full educational potential and good health by providing them with the skills, social support, and environmental reinforcement they need to adopt long-term, healthy eating behaviors.” (Anonymous) To solve the issue of the unawareness of adolescents and children, theses health classes in schools need to become more entertaining and appeal to their interest. This can be done by making a more interactive nutrition class in which students actively learn about food and their effects. Healthy foods can be brought in to taste and the students will discover the benefits of these foods and how delicious they can really be. The teachers of this class also need to be motivated to be healthy and have the desire to enforce healthy habits to students. If these kinds of health classes are being carried out in schools, then school cafeteria foods will also have to raise their standards and serve healthy foods. Often cafeterias are known for their greasy pizza, fried chicken, and processed foods. All of these are very unhealthy and contain a lot of calories along with high amounts of sodium, fats, and cholesterol which can lead to later health problems. If cafeterias are going to have the healthy foods available, then they also need to encourage the children to eat healthy by possibly making the nutritional foods lower in cost and by making them more appealing by giving samples of the delicious food. The healthy food needs to be presented in a positive manor because often healthy food is judged by the way it looks. In My-Say magazine, an article says “The school has to make sure that students choose healthy options, not junk.” (Pranav Ganapathy) This will overall increase the health of our students and benefit their lives because eating healthy increases energy and therefore allow for the students to pay attention in class.
When entering a restaurant and ordering off the menu, people are unaware of the ingredients in their meal: how many calories it contains, or the nutritional facts. If people don’t know of the effects how can they make healthy choices to benefit their lives. The people need to be educated on different types of foods and how they can affect their body. One potential way to solve this is to make it mandatory for restaurants to post how many calories are in each individual menu item. An opposing view point article states “Nutrition labeling of foods sold in stores and in restaurants, when available, is designed to provide the public with information to make informed choices about food purchases.” (Joanne Arsenault) In a survey in 2008, 49% of respondents reported changing their minds about purchasing a product based on reading the nutrition label. (Joanne Arsenault) This could potentially lead to a tremendous decrease of calorie intake in our population if they are aware of the nutritional facts of food. The potential decrease of calorie intake would decrease the amount of weight gain by people and eventually cause weight loss in America.
The issue of obesity in America especially in children needs to be resolved. They are the future of the country and are at risk of potential health issues if it is not addressed. Some simple ways to help start to solve and prevent this issue for future generations includes teaching people about the effects of food and how to be healthy, changing lunch menus in school cafeterias, and placing nutritional facts on menu items in restaurants. This overall will have a dramatic benefit in the health of our children and our society.

References:
"Preventing Overweight and Obesity." Weight in America: Obesity, Eating Disorders, and Other Health Risks. Barbara Wexler. 2008 ed. Detroit: Gale, 2009. Information Plus Reference Series. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Document URL
http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ReferenceDetailsPage/ReferenceDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Reference&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=false&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3011960110&userGroupName=cumm4603&jsid=655203afc5e3c9df1aaed81dbb40a492

Arsenault, Joanne E. "Mandatory Nutrition Labeling Will Help People Make Healthful Food Choices." Nutrition. David Haugen and Susan Musser. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2012. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from "Can Nutrition Labeling Affect Obesity?" Choices: The Magazine of Food, Farm and Resource Issues. 2010. Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 26 Feb. 2013.
Document URL
http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/ViewpointsDetailsPage/ViewpointsDetailsWindow?failOverType=&query=&prodId=OVIC&windowstate=normal&contentModules=&mode=view&displayGroupName=Viewpoints&limiter=&currPage=&disableHighlighting=true&displayGroups=&sortBy=&source=&search_within_results=&zid=&action=e&catId=&activityType=&scanId=&documentId=GALE%7CEJ3010785212&userGroupName=cumm4603&jsid=f0adac0d976452d4e0093a7abe2a1d43
Ganapathy, Pranav. "Do School Lunches Need a Makeover?." My-Say.org. 12 12 2012: n. page. Web. 1 Mar. 2013. <http://www.my-say.org/section/big-picture/do-school-lunches-need-a-makeover/>.
"Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Healthy Eating." Cdc.gov. N.p., 14 June 1996. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
Document URL
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00042446.htm

"Childhood Obesity Facts." Cdc.gov. N.p., 19 Feb. 2013. Web. 28 Feb. 2013.
Document URL
http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/obesity/facts.htm



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