From McDonald’s to Burger King, from TV to game systems, this teen generation’s time is spent mostly eating fast food and sitting in front of a screen.

Over 11 million kids in the United States are overweight, and 13 million are at risk of becoming overweight.

There are a variety of ways we can reduce this number.

PRHS student Bethany Welch suggests, “Shut down the fast food restaurants that have fatty foods or have them change what they serve, and take away some of the ‘snacks.’ Have kids exercise more.”

“I think that if more people knew that it’s 11 million and growing and the dangers that come with being overweight, they would try to reduce it,” says ninth grader Kasey Lugner.

One of the main reasons kids are overweight is lack of exercise both during and after school. For kids who do not enjoy playing sports like soccer and basketball, schools could offer activities like yoga and pilates.

Student Laura Look says, “I think that’s a really great idea! Some kids don’t like sports and don’t find them fun, so yoga is really a great thing to have.”

Another main reason kids are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight is the lack of good nutrition in schools. Schools across the country are starting to teach kids to make good healthy food choices by offering them low-fat, vegetarian lunches that contain fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.

However, some schools do not offer students much of a variety when it comes to lunches. Can the same be said for PRHS?

Freshman Cora Vanarsdale says, “Every week [they offer] the same five items.”

“If we want a variety we have to pay a ton of money. Price is a huge thing. Chips are only fifty cents, and salads are expensive,” adds Lugner.

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is working with Nickelodeon on the Let’s Just Play Go Healthy Challenge where kids across the country make healthy changes in their lives.

Across the country there are kids who are doing something similar. They are pledging to become health activists, using tools to help make healthy changes in their school and community by spreading the word, talking to their school food service department and petitioning for healthier food options in schools.

So help turn things around by making good healthy choices for both yourself and your school, because only you can make a difference in your community!