Get off the couch and get active

To the Editor:

Do you feel lazy all day? Well, apparently a lot of kids and teens are feeling lazy these days! One in every three kids is overweight or obese. This rate has almost tripled since 1963. Talk about being a couch potato!

Child obesity has been a widely discussed problem. According to the American Heart Association, child obesity is the number-one concern among parents. That means it’s even topping drug abuse and smoking. Although it can’t be that well discussed considering we’ve only been going downhill.

Eating junk food all the time isn’t the only thing causing childhood obesity; it’s also watching too many hours of TV, spending all day on the Internet, and playing video games. Most kids spend five to seven hours a day with their eyes drawn to a screen. About three of those hours are spent watching TV.

It’s not just the fact that kids are spending that much time sitting on the couch, but that certain commercials could encourage kids to make unhealthy food choices. For example, in McDonald’s commercials, the kids are always smiling and singing and seem really happy. In reality, they are just gulping down high fats, raising their blood pressure, and increasing their chances of developing diabetes. McDonald’s and other fast-food places even include “toys” in their  “Happy Meals,” which draw kids in even more!

Some people might like to argue that kids spend six hours of the day at school and have homework to do when they get home, so they have no time to run outside. Really? Why don’t you try counting how many hours of the day your kids play Minecraft or Angry Birds on their iPods, because they seem to have time to do that.

Some people might also say teens use their computers as a useful source when doing their homework. I agree with this, but you’d be surprised by how many kids quickly exit out of YouTube or Facebook when they hear their parents coming up the stairs.

Being overweight or obese affects your health. Obesity can lead to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.  It can cause early death in adulthood.

It also stops your body from being able to do what other people’s can. This means things like you get tired after walking up a flight of stairs, you have back pains and can’t move around very easily, and you get hot very easily.

Obesity can also sadly lead to bullying and insecurity. So many kids are being bullied because of their weight. I know that no kids should be bullied because of this, but it really bothers me when kids complain about being bullied because of their weight but don’t do anything to lose the weight.

So what should be done?

Kids should get off the couch and go outside for at least 60 minutes a day. They could do something as simple as chase the dog around the yard, jump rope in the driveway, or throw the baseball back and forth with an older sibling.

Teenagers should lay off the texting, log off of Facebook, and put down the bag of Lays Pickle Chips and get out and run around the neighborhood or ride a bike. They could even go walk around the mall! Hey, carrying tons of shopping bags is a pretty good workout!

Savannah Everson

Farnsworth Middle School

Guilderland

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