How many times a day does a teenage girl hear the words “I need to lose weight!” or “I’m too fat; I wish I was skinnier!” Most high school can say they hear that more times than they can count.
Girls are under pressure to look perfect, and that can greatly affect their self-esteem and how they view themselves. It’s not a bad thing to want to lose weight; the problem is how it’s lost. Today teens are being unhealthy in two ways: undereating or dieting, and overeating.
High school girls are exposed to a lot in the media that make them feel like they have to look like supermodels with perfect hair, skin and makeup and the perfect body. They see the idyllic body type on everything they watch. Now, when watching TV, they see Victoria’s Secret commercials and actresses who are size zero and weigh 110 pounds. Even just watching her favorite show now can create pressure in a girl to make her lose weight, even if she is a healthy weight.
“The media doesn’t show a variety of body types,” says Mrs. Kathy Witherspoon, a guidance counselor at the Academy of Holy Names. “It shows the idea.”
She says that the things girls watch on TV tend to show only what a perfect girl looks like. Because of this, girls can become anorexic or bulimic.
When walking through the halls of Holy Names during the months of November and December, the students are all excited about Holly Ball, but seem to always feel the need to diet for it. There is a difference between dieting and eating unhealthy. One does not need to stop eating or give up everything fattening. All that needs to be done is make healthier choices and only eats sweets in moderation.
“I particularly worry about young women,” said Mrs. Mary Convertino, one of the school’s guidance counselors, “This is the age to build muscle and bone density. Most teen females do not get enough protein. They avoid meat and dairy simply for weight control.”
Teenage girls are known for dieting by giving up almost everything besides about a peanut a day. Dieting should be given up for the healthier alternative of eating nutritious foods and not eating more or less than one’s required calories.
The other problem in teens today is obesity. Many high school kids do not think about what they are putting in their bodies. Many teens have so much going on that they think it is all right to stop to get McDonald’s or Burger King for lunch or dinner.
“Personally, I love fast food. And it is fine, but it should not be the foundation of your diet,” Mrs. Convertino said.
Once every few weeks or so is acceptable, but more than that becomes unhealthy and can cause obesity and overweight body types. Mrs. Witherspoon added, “There is no food that should never be eaten.”
Also when eating fast food or really anything that is not that healthy, it is important to exercise to match how much one is eating so that one may maintain a healthy weight, Mrs. Witherspoon said. The recommended daily exercise amount is about 30 minutes.
Teenage girls are under so much pressure today to be perfect and that can lead to serious health problems such as eating disorders. High school students are also overeating and becoming obese rather than underweight. There are many factors that affect health, and it is important to take care of all of them