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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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Families fight obesity

By Kara Hallam

Staff Writer

Taking 154 millions victims each year, obesity proves to be an addiction worse than that of drugs and alcohol.

Graphic by Josh Martin
Graphic by Josh Martin

God did not make everyone skinny as sticks, or at least that is what my doctor told me when diagnosing me as overweight at 8 years old.

As the youngest child of my family it seemed I had just fulfilled my destiny as another fat kid in a fat family. It was only natural that I developed my family’s excessive eating habits.

I ate faster than any of them which meant the stomach did not get enough time to transmit to the brain it was full, which lead to overeating. My family and I ate out almost every night and even to this day my friends still squeal with excitement over the stock pile of unhealthy snacks in the house that inhabits every pantry and crevasse of the kitchen.

I never once thought I was being unhealthy. I just thought of it as being like my sisters. The more I “grew” the more I could fit into all their cute clothes.

But after my eye-opening doctor visit, over the course of the summer I lost 15 pounds through exercise I got by playing team sports at the Young Men’s Christian Association (better known as the YMCA). I had to pack away clothes that not only did not fit then, but I hoped would be too big for me for the rest of my life.

Maintaining healthy habits while you are young is just about the only way to prevent obesity. Because once those habits take hold, eating becomes an addiction almost as severe a drug or alcoholic one.

Sometimes you might even say it is worse than the latter. It is a problem that everyone can provoke. But unlike drugs or alcohol, society has not yet label overeating as a serious and real issue.

After every holiday, I gift my friends with lots of holiday leftovers, not because I am still in the spirit, but because I am afraid of keeping that food around my parents. Most just cannot see how severe the addiction to food is.

For some of us there is such a huge emotional connection to food. We cannot concentrate or maintain a happy mood without calorie packed food. There is just something so satisfying about scarfing down my favorite ice cream just before starting on my homework.

I know if there is any junk food in the house my family they will eat it and things will never change. It is like I can count the years it would take off my family members lives just by bringing home some chocolate or wanting to go get ice cream. I feel like if I provide that opportunity for them to gain more weight they will never change.

There is no secrecy about eating like there is with alcohol or drugs. People do not take it as seriously as other addictions.

In today’s society being overweight at times is not just a medical condition, but a quality people are ruthlessly picked on for. Girls perfectly skinny starve themselves fearing they are fat.

When you actually try to identify the problem it can strain relationships. You can tell an addict they have a drug problem, but it is almost impossible to tell a teenage girl she is overweight no matter how worried for their life you are.

So what is actually obese? Well it would be scoring over 25.0 on the Body Mass Index Scale. All you have to do is type BMI calculator in to Google and you can find out your own ranking.

My middle sister and I were able to lose the weight through intense exercise. As the two youngest in our family I sometimes feel it is a generational thing. American society realized the dangers of obesity too late, but at the same time the stress that “thin is in” pushed the two of us to not only just lose enough weight to fall into the healthy BMI category but also to a point I was thirty pounds under the healthy BMI measure of 18.5.

The thing that makes obesity the most terrifying addiction is that there is barely any hope of changing after habits are set in. Once you are an adult, they are basically sealed.  Only in youth have I personally seen it to be cured.

The best thing you can do is start now. Maintain healthy habits before you get a dependency on food by exercising regularly and watching what you eat. Before it is too late and you are just another one of those 154 million victims.

Before you eat a snack in class just think are you really hungry? Consider the choices you make and evaluate whether you are eating because you are hungry,  just bored, or because you are simply used to always eating then. A few simple changes and paying attention to the snacks you eat and when you eat them can make a huge difference.

Making these lifestyle changes can be hard to do sometimes, but I can personally vouch that you will not be the only one trying. This past weekend my family and I went through the kitchen, threw away all the junk food and replaced it with fruits and veggies. I may have said there is barely any hope, but I will always keep holding on to that sliver of a chance for my family.

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