Healthy choices

By Jenay Smith
November 25, 2012

I think Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ campaign combating childhood obesity is definitely needed. As the years go on more and more youth in America are overweight. One-third of young people in America are obese or overweight. And in African-American and Latino communities it’s almost 50 percent.

Many families from African-American and Latino communities can’t afford or don’t have access to fresh foods in an abundance. That means nine times out of 10 the foods given at home are not the best health-wise but might be cost-wise.

If the government is offering free or reduced lunches they should be the best, which means the healthiest. The U.S.’s healthy food options should be offered in every school.

I don’t think many people know that the path we’re on now is a dangerously unhealthy one. Our culture has brought us to a fast food nation which is always on the run. The culture we developed does not even take care of the health of our youth.

There are a few facts that are clear death threats for our youth. One, most schools have cut the amount of time students spend in the gym; some don’t have any gym time at all. This does not allow students to get the exercise they need.

With technology taking over our lives at work, school and home something as simple as walking around is minimal.

The culture of playing outside for hours has changed.

Now, children and young adults are playing video games, watching TV and are online for hours each day. Not to mention education’s shift to online-only and classrooms becoming paperless. Now students don’t have to go any further than their desk in their room for information.

These are all intelligent shifts towards a new and improved technological era but also a heavier one, literally.

These advances reinforce non-physical activity.

We need a balance. If we can do a majority of learning on the computer we need to push to have more physical activity in school and to be more active in general.

Another contributing factor are school lunches. Some high schools have fast-food options like Taco Bell and Pizza Hut in school. In public schools they have a lot of food that is not as nutritious as they may claim.

For example, what they call fruit could be processed fruit in a cup. This fruit is basically sitting in sugary syrup waiting for someone to eat it. Also sometimes the fresh fruit they do offer is not ripe which turns students off from eating it.

‘Let’s Move’ is Michelle Obama’s push to raise a healthier generation of kids. Making school lunches healthier is a perfect place to start enforcing healthy eating. We need to raise a generation of people that can take care of themselves.

It’s projected that the generation that is growing up now will have the shortest lifespan of any other in modern time. If that doesn’t put you on alert I don’t know what would; maybe if we said that they were eating a plateful of knives more people would pay attention.

Many high school students have complained about their school lunches changing with Michelle Obama’s healthy eating campaign. Many students don’t know what harmful effects certain unhealthy eating habits can do to you. Sooner or later these bad habits will catch up with you unless you combat them with healthier habits.

Making healthier choices overall is not an easy transition but an imperative one.

We need to continue with the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign and support whatever legislation that needs to be passed in order to help it expand.

We don’t want our lifespan to be a bell curve. We want to continue to live longer and better our health all around. Not only for us, but for those that follow.

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Jenay Smith

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