How can we stop this pandemic of childhood obesity before it is too late?

Marcus Bamber, Staff Writer

Brussel Sprouts, Asparagus, Broccoli. Even when the image of these common vegetables enters some people’s minds they immediately shudder at the thought of eating them. This negative connotation of fruits can cause teenagers to stay away from them, swearing that they will never eat them. However, could this mindset affect iUP students in the long run who don’t even come close to the minimum recommended consumption of fruits and veggies in a day?


To many people, the western diet that we have been known to consume, (fast food, fried food, and overall just junk we put in our bodies) has been both a blessing and a curse. The blessing part being that it appeals to the mind and taste glands, however, with these foods loaded with sodium and fat, it does not appeal to both our bodies and our overall health as it usually affects how our organs and blood flow works. This western diet has lead to a huge climb in childhood obesity and with this comes more health conditions such as fatty deposits in arteries that could cause heart attacks later in their life. This obesity is so spread out that you could call it a pandemic and it needs to stop now.


The United States Department of Agriculture or USDA recommends that girls from the ages 12-18 should eat at the very least have 1.5 cups of fruit and 2.5 cups of veggies and boys of the same age should eat 2 cups of fruit and 3 cups of vegetables remember that this is only the minimum recommended amount. With this statistic in mind, the Center for disease control or the CDC released a study showing that in 2017 only 7.1% of students met the minimum recommendation for fruit and only 2% met the intake for vegetables. This study showed that teenagers would rather eat junk food and other highly processed foods than the typical fruit or veggie.


To get rid of all of these bad eating habits, schools nationwide have been promoting the consumption of fruit and vegetables, however, teens are still refusing to eat the vegetables over other foods such as pizza and hotdogs because they think that the junk would taste better. This is not the truth as you can make plenty of delicious dishes that are made of only vegetables and fruits. For example, a salad has a general negative connotation around it as people think that it tastes too bland and not exciting. One great way to spice up just a regular salad is to add some nuts or just simple slices of apple on the side. With the apple added, just have one slice of it with each forkful of salad. The apple immediately just transforms the salad into something that you would like to eat.


If we have to act quickly to stop this pandemic of childhood obesity we have to start now, we need to advertise some healthy foods that not only taste good but are good for your body as well. One great way to start is to take some people’s favorite fruits and vegetables and make them into a scrumptious healthy dish. One poll from the students of iUniversity Prep showed that students are more inclined to eat fruit over vegetables because fruits overall have more sweetness. One surprising thing is that students enjoy a wide variety of fruits and veggies which is pretty amazing.


In conclusion, this childhood pandemic of obesity is on a steady climb and will continue to do so unless we act now to stop it. With an overall majority of teenagers not even coming close to daily recommendations of cups of fruits and vegetables. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as students from iUP actually like a variety of fruit and veggies. If we all work together, we can advertise healthy foods and get the general public to make the change to more healthy foods as well. The only way we are going to stop this is by doing it together.



“Newsflash: Teens Still Don’t Eat Enough Fruits or Vegetables.” U.S. News & World Report, U.S. News & World Report, www.usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2021-01-21/high-school-students-still-dont-eat-enough-fruits-or-vegetables.