Childhood Obesity: An Escalating Crisis

Childhood Obesity: An Escalating Crisis

Hello, my name Is Luke Watson-Sharer. I’m 14 years old and I’ve always wondered about many national  and international problems.  Since attending Science Leadership Academy, I realize i can make a difference. In my Freshman English class we have been given a challenge to make a difference. Our  project, You and The World, requires us to research an issues, post on a blog, and participate in community service. I know there are many international issues that need to be addressed from Israeli occupation of  Palestine, the Syrian Civil War, human trafficking, and the U.S. drone war.  There are also many issues in the U.S. that need to be addressed including funding of public schools, poverty and the huge wealth gap, and health care.  Nevertheless, I wanted to address a problem affecting many youth but often ignored by youth.  I decided to learn about  childhood obesity.  Obesity not only affects physical health but also emotional health.  I wonder why children of different ethnicities, heights and regions of the U.S. are impacted by obesity.  I also want to know why it is a “growth” epidemic and how it can be halted.

Obesity is a daily problem.  Obesity costs the United States about $100 billion per year.  Unlike a cold or even the flu, obesity does not last a few weeks.  Obesity can consume one’s life.  Today, over 23 million children in the U.S. are obese.  Children and teens who are overweight are susceptible to  chronic illnesses like Type 2 diabetes.  They are also at risk for  high blood pressure. Both of these conditions may shorten their lives.  Since 1980, the percentage of obese children from  6-11 years old increased from  7% to 18% .  Obese teens, 12-19 years old, have increased from 5% to 18% since 1980. Most obese children are at risk of becoming an obese adult with a  very high risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. Obesity not only leads to chronic illnesses but also less quality of life . You may also find other possible threats to kids here Medical News Today Childhood Obesity Facts.,11323/mode,content/a,cms/

This is a body scale of issues of childhood obesity.

Austin's Story

This is one of many stories of kids overcoming obesity with diets and other ways of losing weight and staying healthy.

In Austin’s story, he decides to lose weight because his mother is diabetic.  Austin loses over 40 pounds.  This raises his self esteem.  This has convinced me the goal of my project is working to end obesity because it damages self esteem.  While the risk of other diseases is important, damage to self esteem is the most important. lack of self esteem leads to depression.  Depression is debilitating and may lead to suicide. Overweight youth may be teased and mocked for their weight.  Like in Austin’s story, increasing your self esteem and gaining confidence by losing  weight is possible. This may also lead to a decrease in bullying.  Nevertheless, losing weight is not easy.

Some people are genetically prone to gain weight while others are naturally thin.  How should we support people who want to lose weight?  There are many ways to manage and lose weight.  Eating fewer calories is key;  healthy eating is also important.   Exercising instead of spending  too much time using technology and watching TV helps one lose weight. Consistent exercise, whether on an athletic team or running steps in your house, is necessary.  It is also important for parents to be involved in supporting their child’s weight loss.  Parents should know what foods are served at school and what food the child purchases outside of school.  Next, parents should keep healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables in the home instead of junk food. Last, family members needs to encourage each other to increase determination and  lifestyle changes.  Long term weight loss requires healthy eating and exercise.

Currently, I am wondering if overeating and unhealthy eating is a habit,  a family trait or a mixture of both.  I also question the role of advertising and companies that produce unhealthy food.  Also, who is to blame?  Is it the children and parents who purchase the junk food, the child that does not stop eating or the companies that promote unhealthy living?  Is it environment, genetics or both?  I hope to learn how I can step up and help contribute to helping kids in our country and in the world lose weight and gain self esteem in the fight against obesity.

Every year in the U.S.  there are over 300,000 deaths due to unhealthy eating and obesity.  Obesity also makes youth more susceptible to bullying, depression and suicide.   This can be prevented. We need to encourage each other to eat healthy foods and exercise. Maintaining a healthy weight will improve self esteem like in Austin’s story.  Ending childhood obesity will not be easy or quick but we do not have a choice. The materials, physical and emotional costs are too high to ignore the epidemic of childhood obesity.

You can view my Annotated Bibliography here.

Comments (2)

Alexa Dunn (Teacher)
Alexa Dunn

Luke, this is a well organized post on obesity and I especially liked how you articulated some of the questions and issues you're still left wondering about/wanting to pursue further. I agree with Adam's comment about sounding like you…I think you start to sound more like you as you go through the post. I made a comment on your annotated bib, so make sure to look back at that, too.

Adam Cavalier (Student 2017)
Adam Cavalier

I think your topic was a good choice considering that America is the fattest country. I think you should read it again and see if it sounds right. while I was reading, I came across run on sentences, punctuation, and spelling errors. But, other then that I think it looks and sounds good. Also, try to sound more like yourself. I know you weren't ALWAYS wondering about national and international problems in the world. Just sound like you.