As a young woman wanting to live a healthy lifestyle, I try to eat nutritious foods and exercise every day. This year, I started buying my week’s groceries and I try to spend the shortest amount of time in the store as possible. One thing to expect every time I go is a whining child attempting to persuade his/her parents to purchase more junk food. Of course, the parent mostly gives in to their screaming child and buys him/her chips, cookies and soda instead of deli meats, fruits and vegetables.
Whenever I see this, I immediately think about the increasing obesity rates in our country. Parents should be giving their children a brighter and healthier future, but without health there is no future.
According to Jennifer Warner, a reporter for WebMB Health News, “A generational shift in obesity rates is setting the younger generation up for shorter life and poorer health in comparison to their parents.”
The earlier people develop obesity, the earlier health problems occur, which results in shorter lives. Past generations provided us with healthy lives and we are taking advantage of it. We need to educate today’s youth by providing information about healthy food choices and simple ways to get exercise so that they can have the same opportunities we have now.
Obesity has more effects than it appears at first glance. Obese people struggle in almost every way: socially, physically, psychologically and economically. Society looks down on them, and obese children often become victims of bullies. It brings health problems such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, cancers and depression. Some cannot even afford to be obese.
Maria Loureiro, from CHOICES Health Magazine said, “Studies reveal health-care costs for overweight and obese individuals average 37 percent more than for people of normal weight. This adds an average of $732 to annual medical bills of each American citizen.”
With the recession that our country is in, we cannot afford to be paying extra health bills because people are obese.
In the International Journal of Obesity, research proves obesity rates have doubled in adults, and tripled in children in the US. A big factor in today’s obesity comes from losing valuable exercise we once had. Before everyone drove cars, most corporations were in walking distance. People could walk to run errands and would carry purchases back to their homes. Now, we drive to the store, find the closest parking spot, push a cart to the car, load up the trunk and drive home. This is where our country needs motivation.
We have gyms, recreational centers and sports programs to get our youth to help them stay fit. We need to start taking advantage of these things and get the next generation involved in physical activities.
Our generation needs to speak up for our children’s lives and put an end to these rates. For adults, we can create more bike lanes, smooth sidewalks and fight for safer neighborhoods so people can feel safe going for an evening run in urban areas.
I think it is despicable that these children might not outlive their parents. As young adults, we must end these rates and create healthier lives for children.
By Megan Bratton