Children and teens are in denial; denial about how much they cost their parents, denial about how rude they are, but are they in denial about their weight too? Multiple surveys show us that teens are overweight, even the old BBC is getting in on the act, but more shocking is a new study that suggests teens don't even know if they are overweight.
Some upsetting stats show that, in 2000, 872 young people were admitted to hospital with obesity complications, but in 2009 the number was 4000. The UK has the highest rate of child obesity Europe.
Obesity is linked to serious childhood illnesses and leads to diabetes and asthma. How has this happened to our youngsters?
I blame the relentless advertising of KFC and energy drinks. Social media, console game-playing, and the internet also need to stand in the dock.
A survey was undertaken of 5000 young people aged 13-15. They were weighed and measured and asked if they were too heavy or too light. Very few normal weight teens surveyed thought they were overweight, but only 53% of boys and 68% of girls who were overweight or obese realised it.
Some experts believe this is due to the media coverage of obesity that uses images of severely obese individuals. If a teenager is overweight, but not obese, then they may not be aware of it.
I think it might be. The UK is shifting towards obesity with the rest of Europe.
Numerous studies show we are all putting on weight, and it's predicted to get worse. It's a problem because overweight teens are more likely to be overweight adults, placing themselves at risk of cancer, diabetes and heart disease.The NHS is already bursting at the seams; more obesity-related conditions are not welcome. Something needs to change
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- Educate the parents: they still cook their tea. They also buy their breakfast Sugar ('Honey Monster') Puffs. With a great deal of the population overweight it doesn't take a brain surgeon to figure out most of those parents are overweight too, and passing on their bad habits.
- Schools need to weigh in: what kids don't learn from their parents they need to learn at school. Cooking needs to be on the curriculum. Not making cheese straws for a laugh though, but proper meals and how to cook them.
- TV programs - come on government!: surely we can have some interesting, socially cool programmes that show our teens how to manage weight? Or how about not showing adverts for KFC and McDonalds before 9pm? Don't target our children for the sake of your profits - back off all you fast food chains.
- Pricing: fast food restaurants are teeming with hormonal teenagers trying to impress each other. How about lowering the price of healthy food so they don't all go to KFC for a 99p burger and fizzy drinks with free refills? Step up please Subway, your time has come and frankly you are late.
Whatever the answer, something needs to change and soon. The next generation doesn't even realise it is overweight, and that's a seriously bad position to be in.
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