You Are what You Eat

March 1, 2012
By Katrina Dayaw BRONZE, Bellingham, Massachusetts
Katrina Dayaw BRONZE, Bellingham, Massachusetts
4 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Obesity is defined as the state of being well above one's normal weight. A person has traditionally been considered to be obese if they are more than 20 percent over their ideal weight. That ideal weight must take into account the person's height, age, sex, and build. It is estimated that 35.7% of adults are obese. Over the years there has been an increase in awareness, in the prevalence of childhood and teenage obesity. An obese teen BMI is over 95% for their age group. Currently 14% of teens in the United States are obese.

It is very important to take these statistics above seriously. Teenagers who are obese develop he same health problems adults develop when they are overweight or obese. If you are obese and have unhealthy eating or activity habits, you have a higher risk for gallstones, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and triglycerides, coronary artery disease (CAD)a stroke, and sleep apnea, among other conditions.
Not only does obesity lead to health problems, but obesity may also lead to emotional problems. Being overweight or obese may lower your self-esteem and lead to eating as a way to comfort yourself. Repeated failure at dieting also can affect your self-esteem and make it even harder to lose weight. . Emotional stress, anxiety, or illnesses such as depression or chronic pain can lead to overeating. Some people eat to calm themselves, to avoid dealing with unpleasant tasks or situations, or to dampen negative emotions. One last emotional problem that obesity can lead to is trauma. Distressing events-such as childhood sexual, physical, or emotional abuse; loss of a parent during childhood; or marital or family problems-can contribute to overeating.
Physical factors are also included into the equation of obesity. Genetics is one factor. If one parent is obese, there is a 50 percent chance that their children will also be obese. When both parents are obese, their children have an 80 percent chance of being obese. Medications may cause increase in appetite, water retention, and may also affect fat deposition. Medical conditions may cause fatigue or may prevent exercise. However, less than 1 percent of all obesity is caused by physical problems.
How can we treat obesity and become healthier? We should add awareness while not adding pressure to the teenager to lose weight. A teenager must be able to maintain his or her self-esteem while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. We as teenagers also need to play an active role in choosing to lead a healthy lifestyle. That means don’t eat a lot of high-fat or snack foods, eat at irregular times, and skip meals. We should start by physical activity and eating healthy foods. Your initial goal should be to improve your health, not to achieve an ideal weight. TV reduction appears to be the most effective measure in reducing weight gain in this population. Get off of that couch and go for a walk with friends or a bike ride. Guidelines suggest a goal of losing 10% of your body weight in 6 months. Eating fewer calories while increasing activity is the best way to lose weight. For most adults, eating 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day for women and 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day for men is recommended for weight loss. So plan ahead and accordingly. Keeping a food journal can help you find out how many calories you consume in a day. Then you can set a goal to cut out 500 to 1,000 calories a day. This will help you lose 1 to 2 pounds a week. Research shows that limiting calories-not the types of foods you eat-causes more weight loss over the long term. Rather than focusing on a particular type of diet, try to eat healthier foods. Don't try to restrict the foods you love. Eat less of them. Eat smaller portions. Experts recommend doing moderate or vigorous activity to get and stay healthy. One of the best ways to increase your activity is by walking. Start with a goal of increasing your steps by 2,000 steps a day and work up to 10,000 to 12,000.
Obesity is a serious problem that we need to take into consideration of fixing. It’s a health problem in both adults and teenagers. Helping one generation will help the many generations after.

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