I used to be a year-round swimmer, which meant my diet consisted mostly of carbohydrates, but I could’ve basically eaten whatever I wanted without worrying about it, and that’s exactly what happened. Then I stopped swimming year round, but kept up the diet. I wasn’t exercising, and I was still eating like I had been before. I was hooked.
Once weight gain started I knew I had to make a change, so I started to go on runs and ate some healthier foods. However I couldn’t seem to cut the other food out of my diet. Once school started, I stopped running. I ate while doing homework which just led to eating more. When I went to the doctor, I was told that I wasn’t overweight, but on the high end of “okay” and “need to do something about it.”
I’m not alone. Our entire country is battling weight. But not everyone is as lucky as I am to be in a safer category. About 17 percent of Americans ages 2-19 are classified as obese. This means they are at risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, sleep apnea, psychological issues, and many others. We’re taking note of this issue and acting in some ways, but we’re not doing enough.
We need to address the root of the problem. The adolescents of our society are pulled into terroristic culture in which they are taught to damage their own bodies on a daily basis. They grow up thinking it’s normal to eat food that’s going to afflict your body. Yet when they go to school as obese unhealthy children they are tormented by the other children for being overweight. We need to make a change in a society, and the time is now.
We can make a difference in our adolescents lives if we just talk to them, inform them about what the right decisions are and how they can make them, even on a tight budget. We’ve had programs such as “Too Good for Drugs” and “Pep” to explain to us at a young age to not use drugs, but why don’t we have a program to explain to our youth about the most common drugs in our lives? Food is a drug that we can’t seem to get enough of, and it’s affecting us a whole. Attempting to eat less of unhealthy food or lose weight is something that is nearly impossible to do on your on.
I believe we can fix this in all schools for all of our youth, or at least reach the majority and work to get to everyone. Rather than attempting to get a special counselor for each and every school, we can hold a class about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and how to safely lose weight, and teach all the counselors from the schools how to help their students with their problems properly. We can fix this epidemic, but it’s nationwide so we need to work together to do it.