Schools: The Solution To Obesity
In the last thirty years the rate of overweight and obese adults has doubled and the rate for children has tripled. Today, more than one-third adult citizens, and seventeen percent of children are overweight (CDC). Unhealthy weight is caused by a lack of physical activity and an unbalanced diet. With the rise of technology and improved living standards in the United States, sedentary lifestyle has become a normal practice in today’s American citizens: using elevators and escalators instead of stairs, driving short distances instead of walking or biking, eating in fast food places, and spending most free time as a “couch potato.” Part of the blame is placed ...view middle of the document...
Teaching the youth to live a healthy lifestyle will later avoid the physical, psychological, and social consequences of obesity. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “obese children are more likely to become obese adults.” Adults who cost $117 billion in obesity-related medical care costs annually. Obesity rates can lessen by individuals implementing 60 minutes of exercise a day, were 50 percent has to be vigorous exercise, and eating the daily recommended food intakes. However, most individuals lack the will and motivation, making them unlikely to change their sedentary lifestyle. That is why the obesity problem should be confronted before or at an early stage by enforcing physical and health education classes from grades Pre-K through 12, so children can learn and apply healthy habits that will in return drop the obesity rate.
Society’s behavior has changed dramatically over the years. The cause is due to the improvement of living standards brought by new technology. Machinery makes it easier and faster to produce, moving civilization forward. These advances has changed individual’s way of living; using cars, elevators and escalators to do tasks to can easily be done without and spending most free time watching television or any other type of technology (video games, computers). These everyday decisions reduce and replace physical activity; “one in four (Americans) admits to being completely sedentary, and 40 percent rarely exercise” (Bettelheim). Fast food places have also been growing; McDonalds has “32,000 local restaurants serving more than 64 million people in 117 countries each day” (McDonalds). An excerpt from the book Waistline show how often children eat in fast food places and provide a calculated weight consequence:
One-third of American children eat at fast food restaurants every day. These children average a daily intake of 187 calories more than other children, which results in an extra six pounds a year assuming equal exercise. (Barrett 46)
Only 12 percent of adults and 2 percent of children, currently meet suggested federal dietary guidelines (Greenblatt). Americans not willing to do the work (exercise plus healthy eating), that resort to surgery and diet pills for quick solutions, compose the 75,000 people that underwent bariatric surgery- stomach stapling, in 2002 (Greenblatt) and the $16 billion spent on nearly 30,000 kinds of dietary supplement a year (Triplett). The sedentary choices and unhealthy eating behaviors show a lack of will and care to be healthy.
Lower rates of obesity can be achieved when individuals start practicing the recommended CDC physical exercise and food intakes. Teaching this values to children at an early age will make it easier to establish it as a normal behavior that they can apply throughout life. There are many factors that contribute to the high childhood obesity rates; the book Preventing Childhood Obesity name a few:
U.S. children live in a society...