Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

McKenzie Reimer, Co-Editor In Chief

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As September begins once again, so does National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents through the past 30 years. With statistics so high, the time for change is now, but with a rise in “screen time” and fast food restaurants, a change may be far too late.

The definition of obesity is a disorder involving excessive body fat that increases the risk of health problems. The health problems in question, can be anywhere from type 2 diabetes to cancer or stroke and are often a consequence of childhood obesity.

There are many different factors that cause childhood obesity. One example of this is the advertisement of unhealthy foods. The American Psychological Association has found that children of today spend around 44.5 hours each week in front of some type of electronic device. So, when a child is exposed to persuasive advertising for foods that are high in sugars and low in nutrients, they begin to request the unhealthy foods they are being shown. Another example would be the ever increasing portion sizes. Portion sizes have doubled or tripled, in some cases, in restaurants over the past 20 years and have a powerful, and often long lasting effect on the typical consumer.

So what can be done to help reverse the effects of childhood obesity? Adolescents need to start spending less time in front of the computer and tv screen and more time doing physical activity. It is recommended for children and adolescents to get at least one hour of physical activity each day. Some healthy activities include biking, hiking, dance, or sports. In addition, you can start encouraging siblings and parents to eat healthier. Limiting unhealthy foods and using portion control are essential to keeping a balanced diet.

It is not enough to be taught about healthy choices in school. We unfortunately live in a society that loves the greasy fast food of a restaurant but hates the unhealthy fat that comes with it. To live a better lifestyle, we all need to start working together and supporting each other to make the necessary changes.

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