Obesity in America

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With society’s ever increasing price tag of education, public schools have gone to great lengths to cut costs from the unessential activities during and after school hours. First it was music programs and art classes; however, with the desperate need for teachers, athletic programs have felt the grunt of this expedition. Now, more than ever, youths in our communities are battling serious problems. Not only are sports and organized athletic programs vital to physical development, but also mental growth and offer children structure and goals. Unfortunately, many schools have to cut back or even eliminate sports/athletic programs due to lack of funding.

As the cost of athletic programs increase, many states are forced to pass the fees along directly to students. According to national statistics, there is a 25% to 30% reduction in participation when fees are implemented. Consequently, many of the students who benefit most from athletic programs cannot afford to participate.

School funding cannot be solely to blame for the decrease in physical activity in the education environment. With the increased emphasis on the need to achieve academic aptitude, children as well as their adult parents see athletics as an extra, or something that can be done when and if homework is completed. Not to say that this is not commendable, but evidence supports the fact that athletic programs have the ability to turn at-risk youth in positive directions. Sports programs promote healthy social and physical development while offering positive alternatives to high risk behavior.

Reduced physical activity represents one of the most significant changes in lifestyle that has been observed during the twentieth century. Our sedentary lifestyle and the reduced energy requirements of the majority of our jobs has been a source of comfort in a business world where efficiency and productivity are sought. The impact of the transition from a traditional to a modern lifestyle on daily energy needs can be estimated by various means. By using the doubly labeled water technique and indirect calorimetry, Singh et al. (1) showed that the energy cost of living at the peak labor season was as high as 2.35_resting metabolic rate (RMR) in Gambian women. When this value is compared to results usually obtained in women living in industrialized countries, 1.4 to 1.8_RMR (2,3), it can be estimated that f...

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...one. However, these relationships between household size and weight have not been a focus of past research and deserve more attention in the future.

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