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First Lady's Health Campaign Helps Young Girls

By Kristen Walters
Opinion | February 17, 2010

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Early last week the First Lady, Michelle Obama launched her Let's Move campaign to take on the serious issue of childhood obesity and improve youth's quality of life for the future. In her interview with Larry King, Michelle Obama told about her own wakeup call to the problem. A doctor told her that her children's BMI (body mass index) had slightly increased while they were campaigning due to too much fast food and an unstable schedule. She claimed that small changes such as smaller portions, more home cooked meals, and choosing milk and water over sugary drinks and soda made a big difference in her family, and encourages the families of America to follow suit.

The Let's Move campaign urges families, communities, public and private sectors to work together to conquer America's childhood obesity epidemic. Type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure are more prevalent among children today than ever before; this fact is shocking. This is a problem not just for children, but for the future of our country. On Tuesday morning President Obama signed a memorandum that established a federal task force to tackle childhood obesity, and claimed that this was one of the most urgent health issues. The First Family is encouraging parents to turn off the TV and get their children moving. Interested? Check out http://www.letsmove.gov/

This campaign can be extremely beneficial to young girls and their body image. This is not about appearances, but about quality of life. Physical activity, and becoming involved in sports allows young girls to see their bodies as useful, instead of objects. A girl who is physically active is more likely to be satisfied with her body than girls who aren't physically active. If a girl can think of her body as strong, or fast, instead of sexy or chubby, then that is a great thing, and physical activity is one thing that will allow girls to do this. The health benefits for physically active girls are reason enough to encourage physical activity. The benefits include a decrease in heart attacks, strokes and back problems, and pre-menopausal breast cancer.

Other benefits for physically active adolescent girls include deciding to have sex at an older age than non-athletes and at least half as likely to get pregnant when they do have sex for the first time. Both male and female athletes are shown to have higher grades than non-athletes and are both more likely to go to a four year college. Another huge benefit for both girls and boys is higher self esteem than non-athletes, and a better body image, which for girls is a huge benefit, considering they are more likely to suffer from low self esteem. Female adolescent's self esteem is greatly affected by their body image, and becoming physically active would allow them to have a sense of accomplishment through their body, which is a very healthy way to increase their body image.

Personally, I am so glad that the huge increase in childhood obesity is being brought to the front line, and support Michelle Obama's new campaign. As an advocate for women, I saw the major benefits this campaign could have for female adolescents. But it has the potential to do so much more than that. This is a problem that, if left unchecked, will have a detrimental effect on our country's future. One of the best things we can do for our future is to help mold the future into better, healthier humans, physically and mentally.


2 Comments

I love this. You are so right that it's not just about physical health (although that in itself is hugely important) but that it's also so crucial for young women to value their health, their strength and their abilities. This so good. Thank you for writing it.


(Note from Editor to Brad: Your comment was deleted because you, the commenter chose to criticize the writer rather than the content solely. Note to commenter: stick to talking about content and please do not criticize the character or personal attributes of our writers. This is not that kind of site where we allow criticisms of the writer. While some of the points you made were worthy of printing, you choice to include sarcastic comments about this writer was an unfortunate choice on your part. Brad, you have not been banned from making future comments but you will need to pay attention to our policies as stated here: Policy on jerks Bottom line: Commenters need to stick to subject content, period.)


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