Obesity in Teenagers and Children: How to Prevent it

By Breanna Encinas, Nicole Woods and Bobby Ambriz

It has startled parents for years. It has caused and been linked to eating disorders, diseases, strange eating patterns, and lack of physical activity. Obesity has been affecting the lives of many adult Americans and is now starting to affect the wellbeing of children. More doctors are starting to see extreme cases of obesity more frequently than ever before, and doctors are saying the overall health of Americans is getting worse and worse. But how does this affect our children?

Childhood obesity rates are three times greater than in 1980. The number used to rise very slow, but now that there are easier ways to access fatty foods through restaurants and fast food joints, the numbers are starting to rise rapidly. Obesity is a condition characterized by the excessive accumulation and storage of fat in the body. Every single person’s body is created in a way that will benefit them and help them in day to day life.

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Fast food is high in calories and gives very little energy. It makes you hungry faster causing you to eat again. When people eat more than they need (this is called overeating) they start to build up fat. When a large amount of fat is built up, a person can be classified as obese. Obesity is a big health risk for adults, of course, but how can this affect children and adolescents?

Researchers started to worry when the number of obese children started to rise, and from the results it can be caused by many things. It’s getting easier to access foods with empty calories at home and away from home. Think about it, how many times do you drive by a fast food restaurant? It’s not rare that we pass a McDonalds or Burger King while on the way home or to work. Many children who struggle with being overweight or obese are often that way because parents do not have time to make a healthy home cooked meal and need something quick and fast so they can feed their kid(s). Also, cutting sodas from your everyday meals cuts down on empty calories in addition to other health benefits.

Another one of the biggest causes of childhood obesity is the direct result of eating large amounts of calories with no physical exercise. It can be difficult to cut down after getting so big. Children that struggle with obesity find it hard to lose weight and if they do not manage their eating habits, exercise, and weight,  the bigger the health problems might be in adulthood. However, you can prevent it without even worrying about it.

By being active, you are already preventing yourself from becoming overweight or obese. Things like snowboarding and walking your dog are little things you can do to keep yourself healthy. If you have a fun activity like swimming, hiking, climbing, or even a sport you play then you’re already taking a big step towards keeping yourself healthy.  If you’re the type of person who doesn’t do a lot of outdoor activities and are only going to sit and play video games or stay indoors, eat things that have less calories, or foods with more nutrition.

In addition, if you’ve had more than an hour of exercise or outdoor play, then that’s when it is okay to consume more calories to make up for all that you burned off. When we asked one of our fellow students, Avery, how she keeps healthy, she responded by saying, “I run on the treadmill.” Another benefit for playing sports is that you may even get a reward, like a scholarship!

Obesity can be prevented in lots of different ways, and if you are overweight or obese, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Eat in moderation, eat good foods, drink healthy drinks, and exercise as much as can while also having fun. Being overweight or obese can cause many health risks and it’s important to manage your health. Overall, if you manage all the things this article mentioned, you’ll feel good physically, mentally, and emotionally.

http://www.cdc.gov/healthyschools/obesity/facts.htm http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases­conditions/childhood­obesity/basics/definition/con­20027428 http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity­prevention­source/obesity­trends/global­obesity­trends­inchildren/ http://www.webmd.com/children/guide/obesity­children http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/weightloss/2010­02­09­1Afirstlady09_CV_N.htm http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/jun/23/truth­about­obesity­10­shocking­things­nee d­to­know

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