Friday, May 16, 2008

Mass. Teens Watch TV, But Not What They Eat

“Despite widespread concern about the burgeoning waistline of America's teenagers, Massachusetts adolescents last year ate no better than they did six years earlier, while remaining glued to their televisions and computers. Only 15 percent said they regularly consume the recommended five servings of fruits and vegetables every day, according to a statewide survey of thousands of teenagers released yesterday. And more than 1 out of 4 high schoolers surveyed said they plopped in front of the television for at least three hours daily. Obesity specialists said the findings are a reflection of a society that eats too much, exercises too little, and increasingly lives in neighborhoods where outdoor exercise is perceived as dangerous or where sidewalks do not exist. ‘I would wonder aloud why we would expect an improvement; the behaviors we're talking about are very difficult to change,’ said Aviva Must, an obesity researcher at the Tufts University School of Medicine. The state's public health commissioner, John Auerbach, formed a task force two months ago to figure out how best to battle obesity and to listen to the experiences of states such as Maine and Arkansas that have been recognized for their campaigns to reduce obesity. ‘We were aware there were a number of different initiatives that were occurring at the local level, the state level, and among foundations,’ Auerbach said. ‘But there wasn't a coordinated effort to bring each of the interested parties together. That's what we're doing now.’”

No comments: