The numbers are in: America’s teens are overweight and sedentary. Surprised? Check inside almost every teenage boys room and you will find a video game loving pubescent, more keen on killing King Bowser than being physically active.
Sound like an over-generalization? Sure. But the numbers tell a different story. The majority of teens are less active, putting them at risk for diabetes and obesity.
A study by the Center for Disease Control or the CDC shows that only 10 percent of teens are getting adequate physical exercise. Panicked? Well, not so fast. The study is not completely indicative of what the entire nation follows. You see, the CDC’s study only encompassed 9 states, hardly a true sample of the whole nation. While the study cannot tell the story for the whole nation, it can, however, display a startling trend that is surely spreading throughout the country. Teens are moving less, and this is a problem.
Thankfully, my state fared better than others, but that does not mean we are out of the clearing entirely. The study showed that girls were lagging behind their teenage male counterparts for exercise. And this can be problematic.
1. The teenage years are when habits and skills are developed and created. The fact that these teens are less active is problematic for the lifestyles they live when they are older will be drastically affected. I’m not saying that no habits can be changed, but children often take their lifestyles into adulthood.
2. Less active teens can translate into big money problems. Like I wrote above, less activity leads to obesity and type II diabetes, which is often associated with obesity. The links to obesity and diabetes are not disputed, however ways to take care of the epidemic are. Obesity and diabetes are expensive. Those who suffer from obesity tend to have serious health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure and cholesterol, bone problems in joints, hypertension, just to name a few. And say goodbye to inexpensive health insurance. Health insurance premiums will skyrocket to help cover the deficit of the increasing health care costs. Let’s just say it pays to be healthy. (Some health insurance companies are rewarding their employees for being healthy. A few months ago I received $100 from mine just for that. It literally pays to be healthy.)
3. If teens are less active, we have to get to the root of the problem. Since the issue is more that teens are less active and not necessarily obesity, it could be easier to target. It is not realistic to ban video and computer games and the hide the TV remote, however some boundaries on those sedentary activities is not a bad idea. (Of course, this is up to the discretion of the parents.) However, it might be best to target the reason why teens are active and try and spread that idea. As for girls, who are less active than male teens, they are more motivated by sports because they want to feel included and because of their peers. Getting girls involved with this in mind can help increase activity.