Why Childhood Obesity Trend Can Be Reversed

This editorial represents the views of the young people in The kNOw.

Lately, we’ve been talking  a lot about what our neighborhoods need to be more healthy. We’ve discussed four major areas that experts have recommended for healthy communities, which include health homes for children, increased school attendance, reducing youth violence, and reversing the childhood obesity epidemic.

As youth, we think that we have power to influence all of these areas, but we’re most optimistic about reversing the rate of childhood obesity.

One reason we’re so hopeful: Our culture is in favor of healthy weight in children. No one says, “I’m ok with obese kids.” People universally agree that healthy weight in kids is important. Unlike reducing youth violence, working on obesity in kids doesn’t call for a change of culture. It requires a change of what’s available and what’s easiest. Kids will be healthy if it’s an easy option.

We think this goal is easier to regulate than others, because schools have so much power in the area of enforcing healthy diet and exercise. But we all agree that the change for kids starts at home, not at school. This requires some sacrifices from families and parents.

We know that people don’t want to be obese, but the way our communities and schools are set up, being unhealthy is easier than to be healthy. The obesity problem is directly related to a lack of healthy options. For example, if someone didn’t feel safe running in their neighborhood, they would have a harder time staying healthy than someone who didn’t have to worry about safety during exercise.

When opportunities for healthy living are easy, popular, and normal for kids (and their families), childhood obesity will be less common.

The kNOw Youth Media
The kNOw works to support and equip young people with the journalism and advocacy skills they need to tell their stories and the stories of their communities.

In 2006, over 25 youth began participating in weekly after-school writing workshops where they congregated in the hallway of a two-story building in West Fresno and learned the essentials of creating media and telling their stories. The group evolved over the next five years and is now proudly recognized as The kNOw Youth Media.

Through our program, we create opportunities for our youth participants, who in turn create long-term positive change in their communities. Our approach weaves youth development and youth media innovation to produce our biannual youth publication, multimedia projects, and community forums.

The kNOw began as a project of New America Media, which was the country’s first and largest national collaboration and advocate of 2000 ethnic news organizations. In 2018 The kNOw became a project of Youth Leadership Institute.

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