Kevin Poteracke, 16, a Petaluma High sophomore

By KEVIN  POTERACKE
PETALUMA HIGH SCHOOL
SOPHOMORE, 16

The United States is noticing the rate of children becoming overweight at a younger age increase each year.
Most children in the U.S. do not get in the daily amount of exercise that is recommended. Recently, scientists have proven that one out of three children are technically “obese.” Most children find more entertainment sitting in front of the television rather than going outside and doing something active.
This is not entirely the child’s fault; this is the way our generation is being raised. Children, instinctively, want to follow in their parents footsteps. They want to do what their parents do and that is how they become who they are. A parent may try to get them to go outside and exercise, but how can they expect their children to when they don’t even have the initiative to do so themselves? If they went outside with their children and ran around with them for even 15 minutes, they would become accustomed to it, and it would become routine for them to do their daily exercise. Children learn when a parent leads by example.
Another way for parents to keep their children from becoming overweight is to change their eating habits, so over the years they adapt to the way they eat and keep up a healthy diet for the rest of their lives.
Studies show children are not receiving the right amounts of fruits and vegetables daily. Children should have a minimum of five servings of fruits and vegetables each day. This gives the child a balanced diet and teaches them good eating habits. Once again, this falls on the shoulders of the parents.
If the parents do not eat right, then their child will follow in their footsteps. The adults must take charge and lead by example.
There are many problems that come with becoming overweight at a young age. Examples of this are being more prone to depression, having a higher chance of heart problems when you get older, developing bone and joint problems, and more.
Imagine a child’s life being shortened because of the way they were raised. That is not something any parent should have to live with. It is as simple as going to the grocery store on your bike, with your child, and buying a bag of carrots instead of a Big Mac at McDonald’s.
Thirty-three percent of America’s youths are classified as overweight. The parents and the entire community need to put a little more effort into teaching children how to make better choices for their future.
Children are the ones who will be holding the country together when our parents can’t do everything themselves, so giving them the best possible start should be the main goal.