Childhood Obesity: Thinking Thin

by Kaleb Hofmeister

Childhood obesity is becoming more of a problem in our generation. Is it because of the smartphone, TV, gaming systems, or just unhealthy eating habits? There are many contributing factors; however, the main reason for childhood obesity is because of our lazy mindset.
kaleb1Gaming systems have gained much popularity since 1970. People, if they practice and become good enough, can be paid and compete in competitions for cash prizes. Some people that don't find themselves good at much of anything except for gaming will lock themselves in their basement with a bag of chips and a soda or pizza for hours at a time.  According to Bonnie Miller Rubin of the Los Angeles Times, as of 2010, teens were spending an average 7 hours and 38 minutes per day on gaming, TV, and smart phones. This is the kind of daily routine that promotes obesity. As gaming designers have developed more and more games that draw people in, the more those people want  to play those games. The gaming designers have begun to develop more realistic avatars and gameplay. This more realistic gameplay is what is captivating the minds of the younger people giving them the thought that it is fine to be downstairs, in the dark for hours upon hours. Not to mention the consoles are also becoming more advanced. We now have wireless controllers, there are consoles that you can buy and literally BE the avatar in the game (this avatar will follow your command whether it be voice or physical actions). Games have become so popular that the annual amount of money people are spending globally is $91.5 billion in 2015, according to Jeff Grubbs at!  Gaming systems have even become mobile, allowing a user to have access to them for various amounts of time such as on a long car, bus, train, or plane ride. The systems like PSP (PlayStation Portable) and Nintendo have made it easier to take games on the road and anywhere you'd like to take them with you. I myself at one point had a PSP and it drew my attention for many hours just sitting on the couch at home or in the annual car ride that my family takes down to Arkansas every year. This kind of time I could have used for reading or even just getting the sixty minutes of exercise that I need each day, but  I chose to make the easier decision and to be lazy thus leading to weight production. For me, I can say that a little walk down the stairs and onto the couch is a much easier decision than to bike to the gym and get exercise, or even walk outside for about 20-30 minutes, for that matter.  With so much invested in entertainment how can we manage to stay fit?

kaleb2kaleb3Dieting has become a popular method to regulate our body weight; however research suggests that dieting does not work. There has not been a diet that has actually lasted, or as Roberto A. Ferdman put it "If we have gone this long without a diet shown to work-- according to science, not just sellers of the fad-- will one ever emerge that actually does?"  You'd think that in all this time we'd have at least one legitimate diet right? If we haven't gotten one in the many years (beginning with King William the First- present day) that we have been trying to find one. I doubt that we ever will. Dieting became popular in the early 1800's. I myself had tried plenty of diets because of football when I was younger.   There was always a weight limit for running backs and that was my position, so i went on a diet for about 2 to 3 weeks at a time. I myself never thought I liked a diet at all. Right after weigh-ins, I would go straight back to my pre-diet daily eating.  I have known many people who have tried to diet. The most one of my friends had gone was about 3 months. When I asked them why they didn't continue, they said it was because the meals became too boring and they were getting tired of the same old things to eat. They also told me that it didn't really help them to lose much weight to begin with. Their goal may have been 10 pounds, but they only lost 5 pounds. Meg Selig, in her article, “Why Diets Don’t Work….And What Does”, writes about multiple dieting plans. The yo-yo dieting can be harmful (this is the dieting that I was accustomed to as a boy during football). She explains that in yo-yo dieting, right when you finish your diet, you typically get right back into the swing of eating the things that you had previously eaten which caused you to gain the weight in the first place.
Diets typically fail because people become lazy with their eating habits. Often a “cheat day” will make its way into our eating plans. These “cheat days” become so often and so enjoyable that someone may just end their diet altogether. Another reason dieting ultimately fails is because some people don’t have a plan to show them where to start and how to continue. As Dr. Mark Hyman says it “Health isn’t something that happens to you.” You still have to work for the goal you aim to achieve, but if there is no plan for you to go by, you will not know where, when, or how to start.  We use a plan for everything. We use a plan for cooking, sports, school, and even in the errands we run. Why should the plans stop at dieting? If you want to maintain a healthy lifestyle, you have to use a plan for dieting because without one, you will be lost and have no idea what to do.
The way that an individual uses his/her time also plays a large role in the way that he/she selects their food. Someone who has plenty of time on their hands could get up and have a very nourishing, homemade breakfast. Someone with much less time might have to settle for something like McDonald's or some sloppy fast food restaurant. As for my family, we have time to make nutritious meals, but with 5 kids playing baseball on about 2 teams per kid, we struggle sometimes to get the healthy breakfast we need and often have to resort to a fast food restaurant. Some people are just out and about all day long sometimes. When one is out all day long and doesn't have the needed amount of money to go to a descent dine-in restaurant, that person also has to resort to a fast food restaurant. Time to make a meal is very important because the meals that a person can make will be much more beneficial when it comes to weight and weight loss. The homemade meals can be made to a much more nutritious level than that of a greasy fast food meal.
Weight loss supplements, such as Reduce Appetite, also contribute to our obesity problem. People may be thinking that it is okay if they gain a little bit of weight because they have weight loss pills in the back closet. Even though they may have those supplements and manage to lose a few pounds, they are cheating their selves if they do not deal with the behavior that caused them to gain the weight in the first place.  Every year $150 million dollars are spent on dietary supplements.  It is not responsible for us to believe we can spend all our time playing games and then make up for our obesity with diets and weight loss pills. 
In conclusion, our mindset plays a large role into whether or not we diet and pursue the diet for a lengthy amount of our time. Our mindset determines whether or not we are lazy. Our mindset is a large factor in how we eat. We have the decision of what we eat don’t we? We need to start making the right decisions. We must limit the time we spend gaming and make more time to prepare healthy meals and exercise regularly.