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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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The Student News Site of Fresno Christian High School

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Sedetary lifestyles contribute to poor health

Over a third of Americans are overweight and as a result 300,000 people die early every year, according to Scholastic News Service periodical, Oct. 2001. Video games, the Internet and watching TV are the main reasons teenagers are gaining weight more rapidly over the past 15 years.

According to CNN correspondent Eugina Halsey, former U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop formed an organization called Shape Up America in October 1996. This plan introduced new medical guidelines urging doctors to treat obesity as a dangerous and chronic disease.

“This document, I hope, will literally change the way physicians think about obesity,” Koop wrote in cnn.com, Oct. 29.

There are many dangers to obesity. They include: stroke, snoring, cancer, heart disease, sweating excessively, gallstones, diabetes, kidney failure, arthritis and varicose veins.

Most of these complications do not seem to bother many students on campus.
“I don’t care, it doesn’t bother me that there are fat people out there. Overweight guys are funny; any fat comedian is hilarious,” Greg Andris, ’03. “Fat people can eat a lot, that’s pretty cool!”

The number of obese school age children in the U.S. has increased more than 50% over the past 15 years. On a national level only one in four high school students participate in a physical activity as per the Scholastic article.

“I don’t think that video games and TV have contributed to obesity; I like video games but I like chess better,” Andris said.

Many high school students are in danger of this lifestyle taking over their lives and are at risk of injury.

“It all happens over a long period of time and it really sneaks up on you,” Eric Neufield, ’05, said. “Obesity can be prevented with diet and exercise. The teen needs to do it for his or herself and not for others.”

Sedentary activity has become more popular as well as over eating and the lack of exercise.

“Carelessness is the main problem that adds to the procrastination that builds up the sense of hopelessness,” Neufeld said. “It’s really hard to loose weight, don’t get caught in the ?Pit of Fat’ because it’s hard to climb out.”

Most high school districts require P.E. for only one year. As a result, one in every four K-12 graders is overweight. However, P.E. is required all four years on campus.

“When you are young you get a certain perspective on how you must look,” Nikki Hill, ’02, said. “Then when you grow up you live by that perspective. I don’t care about weight but I do need to keep in shape for basketball and track seasons.”

Self-esteem also comes up as an issue as to why teenagers are so self-conscious.

“I think that it is all mental, you eat healthier when you are already exercising because you motivate yourself to go on and have control,” Hill said.

The lack of open play space and watching too much TV has contributed to this lifestyle change among America’s youth.

“TV and the media have influenced most teenagers in a negative way,” Sharon Scharf, home economics teacher, said. “The kinds of food and body images shown on T.V. are making teenagers so physically conscious that they strive for a perfect body instead of accepting the one the Lord has given to them. To have a healthy body is to eat right and exercise.”

Scharf is a registered dietitian and teaches basic nutrition in her home ec class. She touches briefly on eating disorders in hopes of reaching to her students the importance of being healthy.

“All I can do is plant the seeds, they need to make the decision about living a healthy life,” Scharf said. “It is up to the parent to teach a healthy lifestyle to their child and also be a good role model. The teen cannot learn without positive influences.”

According to Scholastic News, 50% of adults that are active now were active in grade school.

“Our school has a higher percentage of students that participate in a sport of extra curricular activity,” Scharf said. “Parents, teachers and coaches encourage our students to be active. We don’t sit around and become couch potatoes.”

For more information please contact, American Sports Data Inc. at www.americansportsdata.com; the Scholastic News Service Periodical, Oct. 2001; or www.cnn.com.

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