We Are the Future
Childhood obesity has become such a prevalent issue in today’s society that it is hard to look past it. Growing up in the heart of Texas, I was surrounded by kids who suffered from obesity and its consequences. In a nation and state where living an unhealthy lifestyle almost seemed normal, I stood out among my peers as someone who made healthy choices.
I realized the change needed to solve this growing epidemic and the importance of stimulating change as I continued to research the facts. One in three kids are overweight or obese and if they continue their habits, they will most likely become overweight or obese adults. That is triple the rate from just one generation ago. These startling facts mixed with my own personal experiences living in South Texas proved the impact that childhood obesity has on individuals, their families, and their communities.
Naim Ginott says, “Children are like wet cement, whatever falls of them makes an impression”
We are the future of America, yet we are certainly the most vulnerable population to be attacked by the obesity epidemic. A child is an uncut diamond that has yet to be sculpted into a final product. Living in a fast-paced society swarming with advertisements, commercials, and pressure from an industrialized environment has made it difficult for us to sculpt America’s “diamonds” into what we could become. Children are at such a disadvantage in the fight against obesity, because we have the least experience and control over making long-standing healthy habits and decisions that could impact our entire lives.
By focusing on young people, we are focusing on the future. Not only will the kids we impact continue to carry on their healthy habits into adulthood, but they will pass on their knowledge to their future families, keeping healthy living a sustainable tradition for generations to come.
Kids Are Having Fun
Not only are the kids, parents and schools benefiting from students having healthy lifestyles, but perhaps the greatest benefit of all is the most overlooked, and also the most simple: kids are having fun. In fact, that very reason is why I started my Outdoor Recreation Club (ORC) at my high school last year. I knew schools were a great target area since kids spend over seven hours there each day, and I really wanted kids who are in sports and not in sports to have a chance to go outside. Whether it is playing Frisbee, tennis or capture the flag, ORC is giving kids a chance to help kids develop healthy habits into their lives all while having some fun!
The key to ORC’s success is collaboration, innovation, and flexibility. Flexibility, so we can all work together to do different activities. Innovation helps us come up with the ideas on activities and things to do. We only do activities in a group because it is safer, easier and more fun. Collaboration is the glue to the entire club and has taught every member to respect each other’s ideas and opinions teamwork, and how to play a part in a large group setting.
It takes a collective effort as a community to prioritize obesity as a prevalent issue in our society. Each member of our communities can play a part. It could begin with a parent who makes a healthy decision at the supermarket and who further sets a healthy example for their kids. It could be an elementary teacher who integrates daily physical activities to their kids in between lessons. It could be a policy maker that limits the advertisements of unhealthy foods on a busy street. It could start with you.
We cannot wait any longer. We need to work together to take a stand to help out America’s under-served youth.With one in three kids struggling with obesity or overweight, we need to start now. As a society and as a community, we must prioritize obesity as a major issue, but also one that can be solved if we work together.