If anyone has ever read a health journal or has had high blood pressure themselves they understand that being at a healthy weight could work wonders for their condition. But a new study included on Philly.com, in an article written by Rita Giordano; suggests that participation in sports is not enough to combat the obesity and high blood pressure rates in children ages 10-20.
This was shocking for me to read because I thought that the kids who were outside playing sports and those who weren’t cooped up inside playing video games were in good health. As it turns out, it is a big problem for Philadelphia’s children, and if participation in sports cannot mitigate the issues, then what will?
According to the CDC, which Giordano chose to include in her article, “in 2011-12 approximately 17 percent or close to 13 million children and adolescents were classified as obese, which puts them in the 95th percentile or the heaviest 5 percent of children”.
It is sad for me to see that obesity and high blood pressure in children seems to be on-the-rise. I have been in their shoes before and it is tough to deal with—I was a fourteen year old who had to be on blood pressure medication and I am sure that my weight problem compounded the blood pressure issue. Since physical activity is not enough to buck this trend, more research has to be done and Giordano points out that “in national studies, obesity in children has been associated with lower incomes”.
If this is the case then more has to be done to ensure that the lower-income areas of Philadelphia are getting the nutritious foods and vitamins/supplements that they need. Unfortunately, “healthy foods are not the easiest to afford and obtain in the lower-income areas” (Jeremy Close, study’s author).
It is not the child’s fault that they were born into poverty, and I believe that governments around the United States (because childhood obesity and high blood pressure are not just an issue in Philadelphia), have to set regulations that allow impoverished neighborhoods to receive the nutrition that they lack. As for the high blood pressure issue, often times an excessive intake of sodium or salt is the culprit.
Processed foods should not be more easily accessible than nutritious options, such as apples, bananas, baby carrots or celery sticks. Processed foods are okay in moderation, but they should not be a majority of one’s diet, especially a child. Hopefully, there will be more research done into obesity in adolescents and there will be more focus on getting adolescents to eat healthier.