The problem of teenage obesity is very concerning and constantly becoming more prevalent in our society. An unhealthy lifestyle is certainly accessible and promoted by advertising and the general public. This makes it easier to be overweight and not even particularly realize it. Additionally, our society is geared more towards inactivity which leads to an unhealthy lifestyle. These factors can lead to numerous health issues and impact one’s life, especially at a younger age.
Recent studies from 2014 show that obesity in teenagers increased from five percent to twenty and one half percent since 1980; four times as much as it was. This epidemic, which has increased at an alarming rate, can be due to several factors. The first can be traced back to how simple and affordable fast food and junk food are. It costs much less, monetarily, to eat foods that lack nutrition, however, that does come with the heavy price of risking one’s health. Most people are solely concerned with the financial aspect. They wish to spend less and also think less about the things they eat.
In our ever changing and fast paced school environment, stress is very common in people’s lives. The amount of daily stress a person is put under makes them inclined to pay less attention to what they eat and how much. This is simply because they have no time or energy to focus on food while being distracted by a plethora of responsibilities which require extra effort. Food is also a large source of comfort to those who experience pressure in their life; it has become common to “eat your feelings.” A scientific study on physiology and behavior revealed that about fifty percent of people in a sample group of Americans relieved their stress by eating unhealthily. This bad habit has become more common and is another contributing factor to growing teenage obesity.
The world has become geared toward technology. With the invention of accessible apps for almost everything and video games, simple exercise has become a chore to many. It is typical of the American teenager to stay comfortable indoors while entertained with their phone or Xbox. It has become societally acceptable to submit to this technology and give up other pastimes which include sports and physical activity. The increase in the use of technology has lead to the downfall of playing basketball in the driveway with friends or other outdoor activities. More often than not, teenagers are found in front of a television with the new version of Call of Duty or too occupied posting on social media to go out and get some exercise. This is yet another reason why unhealthy weight gain has skyrocketed in teens.
The concern about obesity in teenagers is not for material reasons or to degrade one’s physical appearance. There are many health issues that normally should not be a problem for young people, however, obesity puts them at risk. Obesity exposes the body to numerous dangerous conditions. High blood pressure, possibilities of stroke, gallstones, and abnormal levels of harmful body fats are only some effects of being overweight. There are other disorders and syndromes such as sleep apnea and obesity hypoventilation syndrome (OHS) which deal with shallow and poor breathing. This, therefore, limits the amount of oxygen in the body and makes the heart work twice as hard to obtain the same amount of oxygen as a healthy body. The compensation which the heart performs makes the body more susceptible to coronary heart disease (CHD); a disease where plaque builds up inside the arteries and causes heart attacks. There are other long term conditions which can surface such as type two diabetes, metabolic syndrome, reproductive problems, and even a higher risk for cancer. Additionally, it is pretty common for an overweight individual to develop osteoarthritis. This arthritis affects the knees, hips, and lower back by wearing away at the protective tissue between the joints. Extra weight can put excessive amounts of pressure upon the joints and create pain. Several of the conditions listed above can create serious damage to the body and some may even cause death.
In order to prevent health issues, there are many precautions one can take to stay healthy and active. By taking up a sport, it is assured and allotted time for exercise that is scheduled. This can help someone who is not accustomed to exercise to be disciplined enough to start getting used to it. Another option is to go to the gym and increase exercise time in order to stay fit. In addition to being active, it is important to watch the nutrition values of food. Items with large amounts of calories, too many carbohydrates, and unnecessary sugars lack nutritional value and aid unhealthy weight gain. By eliminating fast food, high calorie products, and unhealthy snacks, a person could better their personal health. Portion size and frequency of meals also is a considerable factor. It is much easier for the body to digest food if it is eaten more often in smaller portions. This speeds up the metabolism of the body and leads to weight loss. Many small meals also prevents gorging and hunger since there is always something being digested in the stomach. The solutions given can help one maintain a healthier lifestyle and decrease their risk of illnesses due to obesity.
"Does Eating Smaller Meals More Frequently Speed Up Your Metabolism?" Healthy Eating | SF Gate. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
"Obesity Rates & Trends Overview." Obesity Rates & Trends Overview: The State of Obesity. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Dec. 2016.
Physiology & Behavior 91 (2007) 449. Physiology & Behavior 91 (2007) 449 – 458 Stress, Eating and the Reward System (n.d.): n. pag. Web.
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