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The Importance of Obesity Prevention

Hey! My name is Riya and I am a senior at Fauquier High School in Warrenton. This is my second year in Y Street and my first year on the Y Street Leadership Team.

Fast food has consumed our lives as being an easy and affordable way to eat. It can be found almost everywhere with numerous options available. Although fast food can be delicious and cost-effective, it has affected our country detrimentally. High in calories, fat, salt, and sugar, consuming excessive fast food can lead to obesity and other health issues. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, there are more than 78 million obese people in the United States. 1 Therefore, obesity in America is a major health issue affecting people of all ages and incomes.

Obesity prevention is important because it can reduce health problems caused by obesity and ensure everyone gets a chance to live a healthy lifestyle. Why wait until it’s too late to act when we can start today?

Youth are at most risk, as data from the CDC shows that in 2015-2016 nearly 1 in 5 school-age children and young people aged 6 to 19 years in the United States have obesity. 2 This is partly due to youth’s lack of awareness. Some are not aware of the importance of eating healthy and exercising or drinking water, all of which can help them maintain a healthy weight. I want to help youth lead a healthier lifestyle because I was once an overweight child, clueless about the importance of good nutrition. My parents would let me eat whatever I wanted, until one day I looked at myself and realized I had to change my eating habits because no one will do that for me.

Youth activism is important in addressing the issue of obesity because we as youth have a greater influence among our own generation. Young people will listen and relate more to people similar to their age than adults. Y Street and its campaigns spread awareness on issues such as obesity by educating youth in fun and engaging ways. Virginians have been inspired by what Y Street has to say through our interactive activities in schools and at events around the community. You don’t want to be behind the scenes waiting for the change to happen, be a part of the action making it happen. To learn more about Y Street and its incredible purpose, visit ystreet.org or follow Y Street on social media.

1 Secretary, HHS Office of the. “Facts & Statistics.” HHS.gov, US Department of Health and Human Services, 26 Jan. 2017,
www.hhs.gov/fitness/resource-center/facts-and statistics/index.html#:~:text=Obesity,children%20and%20adolescents%20are%20obese.&text=Recent%20reports%20project%20that%20by, United%20States%20will%20be%20obese.
2 “Childhood Obesity Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 24 June 2019,
www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/childhood.html.

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