Addressing the Childhood Obesity Crisis

Gustav Gebbie

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Remember when our diet choices were almost dictated by our parents, and we were forced to eat a much more balanced diet. But now, with the introduction of high school, the meal options are seemingly endless with all the restaurants you can go to in forty minutes. But it seems that we may want to keep some of their advice, as our decisions may have caused the childhood obesity crisis. 

Obesity is defined as “a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC [Center for Disease Control] sex-specific BMI-for-age growth charts” (CDC). BMI is a commonly used metric for measuring the ratio of height to weight of someone. The 95th percentile mark makes it seem like only 5% of the United States will be obese. But shockingly, in 2016, 20.2% of boys and 20.9% of girls were considered obese. And according to recent trends, that number will only be rising.

Obesity is a serious problem. It is commonly considered less attractive to be obese, and that is only the beginning of all of the problems. The CDC listed side effects include heart attacks, stroke, type two diabetes, mental illnesses, difficulty moving, certain types of cancer, and simply a lower quality. Obesity certainly should be considered a major problem. 

One of the most common myths about obesity is that the richer you are, the more likely you are to be obese. It would make sense that the richest would be able to eat the most because of the extravagant meals that they can afford. However, in the lowest age group, an additional 8% of the population are considered. This may be because they are forced to resort to cheaper options such as fast food. If that is true, it would only exemplify the negative consequences of fast food.

Another myth is that people with obesity are just unlucky and have slower metabolism. On the other hand, Harvard says “The reality is that for most people, excess weight is not all due to bad luck, thyroid trouble or some other unexplained, uncontrollable external factor” (Harvard Health Publishing). People are going to have to start realizing that they are mostly in control over their weight. And once that happens, maybe the trend will start to reverse.

So what exactly can you do to curb obesity? One basic way is to try to shift away from a sedentary lifestyle. Sedentary is a lifestyle “characterized by much sitting, and little physical exercise” (Oxford). You can prevent a sedentary lifestyle by walking a lot during passing time at school. At home, you can take breaks when doing homework every hour to just stand up and walk around a bit. Another way is to reduce portion sizes of meals. The average fast food entree is made up of hundreds of calories, which just goes to show how companies have been making meals extraordinary sizes. You should also start avoiding sugary drinks and begin drinking water. It may seem difficult at first, but after a while, it should start becoming routine.

Childhood obesity is a sudden crisis that has seem to come out of nowhere. But in reality, it was our own problem that only we can solve. All we really need is to begin to start making better lifestyle choices to stop a raging epidemic.

Works cited:

“Childhood Obesity Facts.” CDC, 24 June 2019, www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.

Hales, Craig, et al. “Prevalence of Obesity Among Adults and Youth: United States, 2015-2016 Key Findings.” NCHS Data Brief ■, no. 288, 2017, p. 3, www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/databriefs/db288.pdf.

Harvard Health Publishing. “Does Metabolism Matter in Weight Loss? – Harvard Health.” Harvard Health, Harvard Health, 16 July 2015, www.health.harvard.edu/diet-and-weight-loss/does-metabolism-matter-in-weight-loss. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.

PMC, and Tae’ Jun KIm. “Income and Obesity: What Is the Direction of the Relationship? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” BMJ Open, vol. 8, no. 1, 2018, p. e019862, bmjopen.bmj.com/content/8/1/e019862, 10.1136/bmjopen-2017-019862. Accessed 25 May 2019.

“Preventing Obesity in Children, Teens, and Adults.” John Hopkins Medicine, 2019, www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/obesity/preventing-obesity. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.

“The Health Effects of Overweight and Obesity.” CDC, 2019, www.cdc.gov/healthyweight/effects/index.html. Accessed 7 Oct. 2019.

 

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