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Teen Obesity

Trevor Roth
Health services
Research Paper
Day 1 Period 1

Becoming overweight and obese is the result of caloric imbalance. Caloric
imbalance is too few of calories expended for the amount of calories consumed and are
affected by various genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. After interviewing
students at Liberty High School and by asking them several questions referring to their
lives and their health, it is apparent that many students struggle with their weight. How
could teen obesity among students in high schools benefit from certain changes to their
daily lives? This topic is so important because of the rate of kids and teens becoming
overweight is increasing rapidly. The percentage of children aged 611 years in the
United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012.
Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 1219 years who were obese increased
from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period. (American Medical Association, 2013)
Positive changes to the diet and physical activity of growing kids will help decrease the
rate of teen obesity and lessen teens struggling with overweight lifestyles.
Obesity has more than doubled in children and teens and has quadrupled for
adolescents in the past 30 years. (National Center for health statistics, 2014) This is
believed to be caused because of the era that kids are growing up in and living in. The
era of cell phones, video games and computers that are keeping growing kids from
physical activity. This leading to bad habits such as laziness, which can cause the calorie
intake to be maximized compared to calories being burned off. The dietary and physical
activity behaviors of children and adolescents are influenced by many sectors of society,
including families, communities, schools, the media, food and beverage industries and
entertainment industries. (American Clinical Nutrition 2012)
A poor diet has major effect to a humans health and can greatly increase the
chances that someone will become overweight. Empty calories from added sugars and
solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 218
years, affecting the overall quality of their diets. (American Dietetic Association, 2010)
At Liberty High School there is a program called Liberty FIT that allows kids to exercise
with friends and classmates after school. Its an after school activity that kids can join if
they are trying to maintain their fitness or get in shape with the comfort of their friends.
Most kids do not have enough money to join a gym and also do not have enough time
when they get home to exercise. So this program is very beneficial to kids lives. The
problem is that the ratio of overweight kids and kids in after school activities such as
Liberty FIT, are an extreme difference. This being an issue that very well needed to be
changed to improve the health of our future.
Schools also play a particularly critical role by establishing a safe and supportive
environment with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. Schools also
provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy eating and
physical activity behaviors. (Journal of Pediatrics 2007). To help this cause, questions
were asked to struggling teens with obesity about their daily lives, tips and advice were
then given to them. They were first asked about their eating habits. The Dietary
Guidelines for Americans recommend a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole grains,
and fat-free and low-fat dairy products. The guidelines also recommend that children,
adolescents, and adults limit intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and Trans
fatty acids), cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, and refined grains. Unfortunately, most
young people do not follow the recommendations set forth in the Dietary Guidelines for
Americans. (Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010), (Department of Health and Human
Services 2007).
A lot of teens do not follow these guidelines of how theyre supposed to eat as
growing teens. They were then given advice on ways they can improve in that area by
limiting their intake and substituting high caloric foods with healthier more nutritious
foods. Proper nutrition promotes the optimal growth and development of children and
teens. Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps
reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer,
and diabetes. (Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee 2010)
They were then asked about how much physical activity they achieve during the
day. Most of the overweight teens said very little to no exercise. Growing teens require
a minimum of sixty minutes of activity a day to maintain a healthy well-being. (Play 60,
2004) If these teens said they didnt and could not achieve that mark they were given
ways to help change that. Whether they were told to join an after school activity, such
as Liberty FIT or just to make simple changes to their daily life. A lot of teens said that
they didnt want to join the after school programs because they felt they werent
athletically skilled enough to fit in. They were then told that as long as you give effort
and continue to make progress to your health you will fit in to these programs especially
one like Liberty FIT. If they really didnt want to join an after school program they were
suggested to make slight changes to their life to achieve the required amount of
physical activity in a day. For example, whether it was to walk their dog, go for a bike
ride or run, or just play a physical activity that you enjoy with friends. They just needed
to get out of the house and away from the video games, computers and TVs. Plus the
high rate of extra calories that the majority of teens intake during such events.
Regular physical activity in childhood and adolescence improves strength and
endurance, helps build healthy bones and muscles, helps control weight, reduces
anxiety and stress, increases self-esteem, and may improve blood pressure and
cholesterol levels. (DHHS 2008). Schools can promote physical activity through
comprehensive school physical activity programs, including recess, classroom-based
physical activity, intramural physical activity clubs, interscholastic sports, and physical
education. In 2011, 29% of high school students surveyed had participated in at least 60
minutes per day of physical activity on all 7 days before the survey, and only 31%
attended physical education class daily. (CDC. Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance, 2011)
The struggling Teens were told to make simple changes to their daily lives in
order to help with their fitness and weight. They were told that they may need to go to
bed earlier because the amount of hours of sleep a teen gets a night plays a huge part
on the wellbeing of their body and weight. Most of the overweight teens said that they
only got 7 - 8 hours a sleep a day. When you are struggling with your weight you need at
least 8-10 hours of sleep a night. Lack of sleep weakens your body and causes you to
eat higher calorie foods to maintain energy. (Assessment of child and adolescent
overweight and obesity, 2007)
By making the after school activity Liberty FIT and other after school programs
around the country more accessible and enjoyable for teens, the rate of overweight
teens will decrease. Enhancing our health for the future and saving many kids lives and
their quality of life. Not only will it increase the rate of kids in after school programs but
sports as well. The growth of after school programs will broaden the spectra of teens
quality of health around the country.
After asking the questions to overweight and obese teens, about how they can
make changes to their daily lives to help them try to overcome their struggles with their
weight. It was discovered that this was a major concern. By reading and learning from
professional articles it was possible for me to give these teens the tips and advice they
needed. Also learning and understanding of myself and how important treating your
health and your body is. Like whats been said before, If you dont treat your body like
a machine, it can go down like a machine.