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I am doing my Master's degree in Education and i have noticed a recent increase in childhood obesity. I have worked in the medical field for 8 years and i see first hand the co-morbidity associated with obesity. I also have a step daughter that has gained weight when she started highschool; which made me wonder why/how? For the first time in a while children are dying before their parents. This is concerning, I realized while watching Jamie Oliver's food revolution that some children do not know what certain vegetables and fruits are. This prompted me into action, I am currently working on my Master's to become an advocate for healthy eating and exercise in school systems. So if you have teenagers in middle or high-school will you please have them take this survey to help with my Master's class and help me create more of a comprehensive survey or design a comprehensive study/ program in the future. Thank you! I would love to hear your thoughts about this growing epidemic. My goal is to collect data and design a study to show the importance of a nutrition class in schools.

Survey link for teenagers in middle or high-school:

https://qtrial2015az1.az1.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_8B3X5NXnh82PT4F
 

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This is more than a healthy eating and exercise issue, it is a serious epigenetic problem we have here.

I will ask my two highschoolers if they are willing to take the survey.
 

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I agree and that is why i'm concentrating my master's degree into researching and hoping to contribute to a solution to this issue. My next degree after this is going to in nutrition. Thank you for asking your teenagers.
 

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I would ask my children but they're too young to meet your criteria.
I think it's great that you're doing research that will help children be healthier, I'm always struggling to get mine to eat healthily.
 

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My 17 year old took the survey. She found the questions easy*, but the question of how many minutes a day does she exercise, she averaged because she doesn't work out every day (usually 5 or 6 day a week) and probably under estimated - for example on Sundays she might be at the climbing gym for up to 6 hours.

* She couldn't believe that some kids wouldn't know the names of the fruit and veg that respondents were asked to name!
 

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I was surprised as well when not everyone got the matching correct. Water intake was WAY below what is recommended and the average workout per day was 20 minutes. This is rather concerning to the health of many teens; lower water intake and bad exercising habits are doomed to cause obesity and health issues. I am hoping to make a difference in the future of teens. I struggle getting me step daughter to exercise which is important. Thank you for helping in my survey and helping me realize this is not a problem that i only see but others do too and are concerned.
 

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There are a lot of confusing aspects of this survey. For instance a respondent may only "exercise" for 20 minutes a day, but if they're walking 15 minutes to and from school, or walking a dog, or doing yardwork for 3 hours on the weekend as part of their chores, or going to a Friday night dance, or geocaching with family on Sunday afternoons, or hanging out goofing around with buddies at the skatepark after school, those things might not be tallied up as "exercise," even though they're definitely active pursuits. In my experience kids are less likely than adults to draw a line around a particular activity and say "I'm doing this for exercise." Often their exercise is in pursuit of other things, like play, social time, work, transportation or whatever. My 16-year-old keeps saying that she wishes she had time to get more exercise, but she's doing 2 hours of dance, 2 hours of gymnastics a week, and walking 60 minutes round-trip to school every day, a route so steep that it involves almost a hundred stairs. She also bounces on the trampoline for 10+ minutes most days, does yoga while watching TV, and is constantly doing handstands and walkovers in the living room. She only counts her four hours of scheduled activities as exercise, though ... the rest is just "stuff."

Also, you asked how many glasses of water and how many fruits ... but other fluids like tea, juices, soda, coffee, milk and so on all count towards the optimal daily fluid intake, and a tall glass of orange juice with breakfast would count as 2 "servings of fruit" but the way your question is worded kids might not have counted that. And ... what about vegetables? Tomatoes, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers are fruit ... do they count? I doubt a student would have included them. And really, why make a distinction between fruits (being counted) and vegetables (not being counted). My 12-year-old isn't much for fruit and I think she rarely gets more than 2 servings a day. But she's a total vegetable fiend and will often eat nothing but vegetables for lunch and supper, cups and cups of salad, zucchini sticks, roasted veggies, and so on.

So I wonder if your survey is really measuring accurately what you're hoping it will measure.

Miranda
 

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Parents really need to do a better job of setting a good example for their children from day 1. I grew up being offered either a banana or some broccoli as a snack. To this day any time I need a snack I will reach for some sort of fruit of vegetable. I am by no means a vegetarian but definitely gravitate towards those foods throughout the day because of the way I was raised. My hubby on the other hand never had to eat a fruit or vegetable in his life before I came into it. He gains weight easily and only craves heavy, unhealthy snacks. I have been working on moving him to a healthier diet over the years to set a good example for our baby and since eating healthier he says he feels so much better both physically and mentally. Unfortunately even parents are shoving their mouths full of unhealthy foods just because it is convenient so how should their kids know any better? It is a growing issue not only here in the US but all around the world :/
 
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