One third of teens or adolescents are over weight or obese, according a 2008 report from The Center for Disease Control and Prevention. One in five teens have abnormal cholesterol. African-American adolescents have a 51 percent prevalence of obesity compared to white counterparts.
The adolescent obesity rate increased more than 30 percent in the last five years, and our first lady Michelle Obama is doing something about it.
Obama initiated a campaign to combat childhood obesity when she learned that her own daughters Sasha 8, and Malia, 11, were considered over weight.
Obama kicked off the battle of childhood obesity campaign with a speech in Alexandria, VA.
In the speech she shared personal experiences with her daughters and their struggle to eat healthy.
“I didn’t see the changes. And that’s also part of the problem, or part of the challenge.
” It’s often hard to see changes in your own kids when you’re living with them day in and day out,” Obama said.
She also noted that, “But we often simply don’t realize that those kids are our kids, and our kids could be in danger of becoming obese.
“We always think that only happens to someone else’s kid — and I was in that position.”
Michelle Obama implemented minor changes to her daughters’ diets and activeness around the home.
As a result, significant changes began to take place.
Limiting television time during the week, and eating more fruits and vegetables instead of fatty foods ultimately kept the children from becoming a statistic.
However, some criticized Obama’s approach to the pressing issue.
Leaders in the fields of childhood obesity and eating disorders have spoken out.
They believe that by using her daughters as an anecdote for the campaign, the children will grow to have eating disorders and self-esteem issues.
By appearance, Sasha and Malia Obama do not even remotely look overweight. However, the Body Mass Index shows different.
Laura Collins Lyster-Mensh, an eating disorder activist and executive director of Families Empowered and Supporting
Treatment of Disorder (F.E.A.S.T.) said that, “The focus on obesity, turns this into an issue of appearances, which does not bode well for children, especially girls.
“There is simply no reason to be pushing children into weight reduction diets and that’s the message parents out there get,” Lyster-Mensh said. “Dieting is a gateway drug to eating disorders for those with a biological predisposition to eating disorders.”
Some say that talking about their own children’s weight can have a harmful impact on them.
In this case, I feel Michele Obama wanted to bring the nation closer by sharing how the growing obesity rate affected her and her family.
She wasn’t out to start some sort of subconscious self-esteem issue among her healthy daughters.