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The essential part of personal harmonious development is healthy life, which includes healthy eating routine, absence of bad habits and going in for sports. Everyone knows that sport means health. It improves our physical form and adds more energy. No matter what kind of sport one goes in for, whether it is everyday jogging, tennis, acrobatics, boxing or just regular visits to the gym. As well as it does not matter what place a person occupies in sport, if he is a professional or an amateur. The main thing that helps to organize oneself is the regular training.
It is great to realize that government, together with different public organizations, support the idea of healthy young generation. Nowadays there are numerous programs, which encourage youth to take care about health and involve in different sports activities. Every year scientists and scholars are developing strategies and programs to help youngsters with their sporting efforts. For instance, there is a “Healthy Living” Program developed by University at Buffalo School of Social Work researchers with the special "wellness curriculum" designed to improve the health of Native American urban youth shown to be at higher risk to develop health problems, including cancer (Anzalone, 2010). The Independence Blue Cross Foundation has developed “The Healthy Futures” program to address three key components of child wellness, which are: nutrition, fitness and preventive health care (George, 2012). Various organizations, such as UNESCO, EmaxHealth, 4-H Healthy Living, “Let’s Go!” and others also support and develop the idea of healthy living.
In addition, the problem of healthy lifestyle concerns the school education. Dane Moines from School Health community states in his Guide to School Health Advisory Councils:
Schools play a central role in promoting the health of children in our communities. In the past, school health was limited to clinical services by a school nurse and providing educational programs about human biology. Today, schools recognize that children’s health directly affects their capacity to learn. School staff also knows that the school’s environment and extra-curricular activities influence children’s health (Moines, 2012, p. 1).
Nowadays any average student can choose from numerous sport clubs in his school. Usually there is a lot of sport clubs and groups, connected with football, soccer, basketball, baseball, volleyball, tennis, table tennis, track and field, swimming, hockey, wrestling and bowling. Schools also make steps towards the nutrition. In most schools, such products as sweet milk drinks, sugary cereals and other quick-cooking foods with high sugar content were replaced by their more useful analogues. Most of them also banned lemonade and other fizzy drinks. This way the amount of sugar in the diet of schoolchildren can fell by half (at least at school). This innovation is not only the next step in the fight against childhood obesity, but also the solution of problems with hyperactive children and economical troubles of school budget.
Among these problems, the most important is the youth obesity. It is a serious difficulty in the world today. Teenagers always face the problems more painfully than the adults do, especially when those problems concern their appearance. Adolescents, who have problems with overweight, are unconfident, humble and self-contained. All these traits usually lead to various psychological problems. Mental disorders, caused by the deep insults and despair later influence the physical state. Common occurrence here would be constant headaches, problems with cardio system and even diabetes. Inborn illnesses, diseases, different medications or genetic predisposition can become the main reasons of the deep insults and despair. However, the most common reason is overeating. Usually obesity occurs when a person receives more calories during his/her meals, than he/she is supposed to burn during training, walking or going in for sports. Fast food is the main enemy of the teenagers, but they consider it their friend. Everyone knows that fast food products are cheap and tasty, and therefore popular among youngsters. Moreover, a common cause of overeating is a habit formed within the family. If the parents have always had unhealthy eating habits, it is hardly worth expecting that their children will eat healthy food. On top of that, modern teenagers prefer sitting most of their time at home, watching TV or playing computer games instead of going in for sports.
Nevertheless, the benefits of modern civilization can be considered one of the main reasons why obesity becomes epidemic. We have no problem with getting food. Any supermarket offers the needed number and variety of products. Lots of modern food contains many calories. The children and adolescents often do not think about the products they buy. Usually they forget that food means energy. As soon as human body receives the vital energy, it needs to release it. However, sitting in front of the computer screen nowadays replaces the outdoor games and walking in the street.
Some mothers and grandmothers are constantly trying to feed the favorite child. They do not pay attention to the fact that the teenager has become a little bit plump and even believe that it is good and right. However, the extra weight has a negative impact on human health in teenager’s age. This is the period of hormonal changes in restore mechanisms of regulation of energy and calories. Metabolic disorder in this age can lead to serious health problems later in life.
Besides teenagers, obese often suffer from complexes and are vulnerable to depression. The excess weight prevents them from making friends and feeling comfortable around fellows. These problems can later disserve normal socialization of the child in his life.
Moreover, there is discrimination in many countries against people who suffer from overweight. As a rule, this leads to many problems. For example, such people are less likely to get a good job, compared with their slim opponents. This means that fat people are usually at a lower social level. Extra pounds also lead to the fact that people get tired quickly hence bringing less value as a worker.
It is an urgent need to fight with obesity and to make drastic changes, instead of thinking that teenager would cope with obesity over the years. This danger does not usually disappear; all illnesses and diseases from the early childhood can remain and change into a new form throughout the years. However, if the problem already exists, it is vital to visit a doctor in order to figure out everything about it and be ready to face the difficulties. It is easy to avoid visits to the doctor and future problems. All the person needs are a healthy diet and active way of life. Therefore, it is evident, that healthy eating habits (eating fresh fruits and vegetables) and going in for sports are the main counteractions.
Thus, it is important that every family that has faced with this problem should find a solution of it. To do this, family should make change a ration from calorie food on food rich with nutrients, and explain a teenager that eating junk food is not good for the health. Fresh fruits always work better, for example, a banana, though high in calories, but still more useful than wheat bread and satisfies hunger as well. It is great, if a healthy diet and active lifestyle is common for all the family members. This will not only show the teenager support, but also will provide a positive impact on the health of all the family members. It is necessary to give an example and to encourage the adolescent physical activity, going for a walk, riding a bike, playing outdoor games at the back yard or hiking.
It is vital to find solution both within the family and at the national level. Many professional athletes help to implement this idea, being an idol for many teenagers. Such giants of sports as the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and many other professional sports organizations understand that they can change the situation for better and to cause a positive influence, when it comes to encouraging pupils to go in for sports. Famous athletes from eight different kinds of sports decided to create a coalition named ‘nPLAY, which would help children from the families with the low income. The main goal is to introduce the Healthy Human Vending Machines in schools, which are the usual machines with tasty food and drinks, but 100 percent natural and free of pesticides. Sean Kelly (2013), CEO of HUMAN association said:
We are proud to partner with ‘nPLAY and this all-star group of athletes. We are committed to being part of the solution, which is why we are proud to donate a portion of our proceeds to such an effective charity in the fight against childhood obesity and malnutrition. Athletes like Grant, Jennie, Shannon Miller, Summer Sanders and the rest of this coalition are just the type of role models that kids really listen to, instead of tuning them out (Sean, 2013).
In addition to the famous sportsman, the first lady made an initiative to raise the prevention campaign. Michelle Obama insisted on signing the law, connected with healthy eating in schools. According to the first lady, obesity is not just a personal problem it is a threat to the national security. She claims that overweight, which is the disease of the American nation, is the problem of state level. Since February 2010, school menu and diet had recognized serious changes. Broccoli was offered to the students instead of hamburgers and fries, mineral water fountains replaced machines with soda. Children can also forget about the pizza, chips and other fast food products. The law improves the supply system and helps to fight obesity among children. The Ministry of Agriculture provides the ability to set standards for all the products sold in schools, including the food machines. The law provides additional funding to the schools, where food meets standards, providing them with subsidized lunches from the federal budget. Michelle Obama said it was a great honor to participate in such a programme, improving the situation in the whole country. "It is our duty not only as parents who love their children, but as citizens who love their country. The purpose of this law is to give our children a better future that they deserve, "- said the president's wife (The White House, 2010).
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University analyzed data from 1983, 2006 and 2009 and concluded that over the last three decades people stress levels increased on 10-30%. According to the data published in the Journal of Applied Psychology, women, youth and people with low incomes experience the highest stress. It is clear that many Americans live in a state of severe stress, which causes the risk of many diseases. High levels of stress can cause the development of various diseases, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes (Neal, 2012).
A new analysis of obesity indicators in the United States points to the fact that we as a nation continue to carry a huge amount of extra pounds. According to data released by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 12 states have obesity rate increased for 30 percents (Carman, 2012). What can turn into a similar problem? A few years ago, the Internet was full of the stories telling about a man, who was not hospitalized because he did not pass in any hospital door. That story was not the only one. This disease leads to the death of thousands of people each year. As well as, the US government spends billions of dollars on obesity and related diseases.
Without a doubt, the fight against obesity has become number one goal of American society of the 21st century. As the problem is growing, it is easy to make some assumptions what will be the youth like in 50 years if nothing is changed. According to the report published by the NGO, called “Too Fat to Fight” the group of the US military soldiers has already concluded that the American youth obesity is becoming a threat to the national security. The authors state that the problem of obesity is becoming a major cause of potential workforce failure. The report says that weight makes more than 9 million young people (27% of all Americans aged between 17 - 24 years old) too weak for the military service (Carman, 2012). Several senior officers were present at a congressional hearing, which called the lawmakers to take legal action in order to ban junk food in school canteens and to improve the nutritional standards of school lunches. The organization says that the alarm was raised due to a sharp increase in the number of youth, suffering from overweight in the US.
Obesity has a significant impact on the state budget and has a great effect on the expected quality of life. It is impossible to lose weight and feel better again as quick as many people think. One needs to change the whole lifestyle to feel better. This will require much efforts and insistence, as well as essential support from family and friends. Some experts believe that daily exercises, at least half an hour, can be very helpful. Even if the exercises are three times a week this will already help to avoid serious problems in future. Therefore, instead of using the car, it is better to walk or ride a bike. Instead of using the elevator, go up the stairs yourselves. Long walks is the best opportunity to join sports, because it does not require any special equipment, it can be practiced at any time and in any place and it is usually pretty safe. Doctors recommend devoting at least half an hour to the exercises every day.
Obesity is one of the most important public health problems in both developed and still developing countries. In Europe, obesity has not yet acquired the same extent, but doctors in some countries, especially in France and Germany, are beginning to sound the alarm. In China the obesity has also become a problem of national significance.
According to the World Health Organization, in 2015, 2.3 billion adults in the world will be overweight and more than 700 million people will suffer from obesity (Anzalone, 2010).
Dealing with such a planetary epidemic is one of the priorities in modern medicine. Although how can we fight, if people are not enthusiastic about methods that doctors offer. Lack of interest in making efforts to stay healthy has always led to a search of the universal medicine. However, the surprise is that the universal remedy is human mind, which is much more powerful, than any other thing in the world. Numerous programs and organizations can only support the ideas and aspirations, but they are not able to influence to that extent, when people are ready for the changes inside themselves. A new culture of American health begins in the mind of the generation.
Overall, the above facts give the opportunity to look into the future. It is obvious that the upcoming situation depends on youngsters, whether they consider themselves worthy such disappointing forecasts.
Should the state turn from a powerful country into a bunch of incapable, lazy and powerless human beings or should it become the country full of brilliant minds, successful sportsmen and bright inventors? The answer is in the hands of every American youngster.
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