Teen Obesity

By Megan K

Teen Obesity: A Growing Epidemic

In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has doubled and adolescent obesity has tripled! This shows that about one third of children in the United States are, in fact, obese. However, what does it mean to be obese? Everyone has heard the word before, but no one knows it by definition. Obesity is a medical condition where the body stores up fat and doesn't get rid of it, which can lead to further health problems in the future.
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Causes

Couch Potato - Ya, I know. Everyone has heard of the famous "Couch Potato" before. However, it is a big factor in teen obesity. When kids get in front of a TV or computer, you better hope that they have no where to go, because they are not getting up. Studies show that kids tend to eat more when in front of the TV, especially when a fast food commercial comes on!

Fast Food -
Since the documentary "Super Size Me" came out, the public has become more aware of what fast food can do to our bodies. Even though we aren't eating McDonalds for every meal, it can still impact our health. According to CBS News, high schools that have a fast food restaurant within a half mile radius of the school is likely to have a lot of business from those students. Teens in high school are always hungry, and don't mind walking or driving a little bit to get that food. It is also inexpensive, making it easy for those teens to get the food. Which leads me to me next topic...
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More Causes

Money - Fast food is cheap! Most fast food chains have some sort of "value" or "dollar" menu, which is perfect for teens. Having only $3, you can buy a cheeseburger AND a drink. What hungry teen wouldn't want that? At McDonalds, you can get a McChicken sandwich for only $1, however, that dollar will buy you 310 calories and 740 mg of sodium. Teens are growing constantly, and their bodies are always changing. But on the flip side, eating that sandwich everyday after school (especially if you're driving and not walking) will catch up with you and add on pounds. Try walking home and eating a snack there, instead of eating out all the time. But when you are at home, eat fruits or veggies, not chips. Eating something like chips can be just as bad for you as fast food!

Solutions/Preventions

Stay Active - Yeah, yeah. I know. You're lazy, not good at sports, etc. I've heard it all before. However, there are still some ways to stay active without it being a chore. Find something that you are good at. For example, I dance and have been since I was little. It is something that I love to do, plus it keeps me active. Maybe you are good at volleyball or baseball. Find a group of friends that like to do the same thing and meet once or twice a week and play that game. Even if you don't like sports or running, you can jog or walk with your friends around the neighbor hood. Listen to music while doing it, or talk with your friends. It is more fun to do activities in a group then by yourself.

Eat Junk Food In Moderation - Save the good foods for special occasions. Eat cake, pie, cookies, etc. at holidays or birthdays only. That way, it is more special and you won't eat as much. As far as chips go, if you eat them, put some in a bowl so that you can monitor how much you eat. If you have the whole bag with you, then you will be tempted to eat more.
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Conclusion

In essence, be smart about how you live life. Stay active and eat right. Hey, it's your life, not mine. I can't tell you what to do, but I can give you advice, and you just read mine! If you have a healthy lifestyle all ready, then keep doing what you are doing. If not, then what are you waiting for? Get out there, because life is waiting for you.