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Obesity: A Growing problem in adolescent America

"Sixty-four percent Ð'-that's 123 million Americans-- are overweight or obese. Fifteen percent of our children are overweightÐ'--nine million young people. The percentage is even higher for African American, Hispanic, and Native American childrenÐ'--over twenty percent. Type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure are showing up in young children. This may be the first generation in modern history to be outlived by its parents." This generation that Lynda Swann of the FDA is talking about is my generation. The youth of the nation. Many variables are to blame for this epidemic of adolescent obesity sweeping the nation.

Schools are a huge factor in determining the cause of obesity. Teen's lack of education, that the school could easily provide, is a critical aspect. Most kids in or around their teen years have little to no education in nutrition. Sure, they all have to take health classes, but the health classes usually don't go in depth into what makes a food healthy or unhealthy. With this ignorance, the youngsters will just eat whatever they think tastes the best when they are hungry. Thus, schools take advantage of it. They have vending machines around the campuses packed with empty calories for the children to feast on. Our cookie break is a prime example of this. During that time, anywhere you look, there are kids with junk food. If the schools got rid of vending machines and took a little extra time in the health department, we would see a little less obessness.

Non existent exercise is another predicament to take into consideration. With the temptation of modern technology, it is very hard for kids to go out and exercise. It is a lot easier for them to go home from school and watch TV, play video games, talk on the phone, etc. than it is for them to do some physical activity. Dr. Mercola of The Journal of the American Medical Association says that, "Ð'...26% of US children watched 4 or more hours of television per dayÐ'...the average high school graduate will likely spend 15,000 to 18,000 hours in front of a television but only 12,000 hours in school." Not only will they burn very few calories watching TV, but take into account all of the fast food commercials they are seeing as well. All of the subliminal messages on TV and the radio that kids hear every day has an enormous impact on their life and decision making.

The biggest effect on your possibility to becoming obese is your family. Your genes will dictate just how fast your resting metabolism is. Notice how I used "resting." I do that because you can easily overcome your slow metabolism by means of diet and exercise. Your genes are far from the only influence one's family has on chances of obesity. Their eating habits are your eating habits during birth to your pre-pubescent stage of life. If your family is eating a diet high in fat, chances are you will be too. Conversation with your family can be another origin of obesity. If the parents are fat, then they will probably avoid confronting their child about being overweight simply because they are overweight themselves. They will feel embarrassed, or feel that it is no big deal. They might tell their kids "There is nothing wrong with being overweight,"



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