Eating Habits Among Teenagers Name of of University Eating Habits Among Teenagers The Biggest Loser television show currently spotlights childhood obesity. The show has chosen three teens who are actively working toward becoming more active to lose weight (“Biggest Loser”, 2013)…
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These two programs bring into the consciousness of the American public the fact that childhood obesity has become quite a problem. Statement of the Problem According to the American Heart Association (2012) childhood obesity is still a problem in the United States. One in six children, ages two to 19 are obese and one in three are considered overweight. Further, children who are obese have a 70% of becoming obese adults. Unfortunately, these statistics are higher for this age group than they were in the 1970s. Part of the challenge is that children are exposed to more fast food choices and junk food than in other generations (Salvy, de la Haye, Bowker, and Hermans, 2012). Obese children also have a tendency to associate with other obese children which makes it difficult for obese children to understand that they are obese (Salvy et al., 2012). Dorfman and Wootan (2012) add that children are exposed to a variety of adds for fast foods and other unhealthy foods, which contributes to the problem. Also, children generally eat what their parents eat, and if parents have poor eating habits, their children also have poor eating habits (Dorman & Wootan, 2012). What is clear, is that there must be something that changes the way that Americans think about food and how they teach about food to their children. Also, the entire community must be involved in order to understand how to curb this problem (“Let’s Move”, 2012). Literature Review Much of the literature has studied childhood obesity as a whole and has not specifically separated teen eating habits from the rest of the literature. Several studies have also been done regarding the specific causes of obesity without providing an idea of interventions. Some of the literature shows the relationship between the parents’ attitudes about food and how they influence the way that the teen eats. Honisett, Woolcock, Porter, & Hughes (2009) reported on a program in Australia called, Kids - 'Go for your life', in which the creators of the program brought together primary school, early childhood services, family daycare programs and kindergartens to teach them about healthy eating and physical activity. The way the program brought these agencies together was to provide a membership (free) that provided resources, training, and a reward program. When the organization goes through the program and makes a commitment to promoting healthier schools, they also receive a sign to place at their front door to show they are committed to healthy eating and physical activity so that the community will also know. Sealy (2010) points out that children begin to understand eating habits from their parents, and often, parents rely on fast food when they have little money or when they are rushed. Backett-Milburn, Wills, Roberts, and Lawton (2010) also interviewed teens and found that parents controlled what children ate at home. Coppinger, Jeanes, Hardwick, & Reeves (2012) found that teenager’s eating habits varied between genders. For example, the authors found that boys are more prone to eat junk food or other unhealthy food than girls. The authors also found a connection between BMI and a child’s breakfast consumption. If the child ate breakfast regularly, they had “significantly lower BMI Z scores” (p. 46) than those who did not. Older boys were less likely to eat breakfast than other children. The literature on eating habits of teenagers is not restricted to the United States. In fact, much of the
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