Andrew C New Jersey

Obesity: A Growing Problem

Obesity is at the top of the charts on Americas increasing problems. Click here to learn what this 13 year old has to say about it!

Dear President,

It is crucial that the obesity rate is at least cut in half. We need to divert all attention to creating healthier choices and portion control. People struggle every day with obesity, it is truly heart breaking when a parent is too overweight to play with their children. This affects you directly because people with obesity make hospital costs and insurance rates go up.

Not only are health costs and higher insurance costs connected to obesity, but a weight problem is also tied to a person’s emotional well being. In our society thin people are “superior” to overweight people. According to, “Children as young as 6 believe that a heavy person is less likable.” In general if someone is obese they have lower self esteem than those who are thin. Their weak self esteem can lead to shame about their body and their lack of self confidence can lead to poorer academic performance at school. With all of this turmoil in an overweight person's life they may feel like they don’t belong or fit in anywhere. They may see themselves as an outcast and as this becomes a part of their life, they can become sad, withdrawn and even depressed. Heavy teenagers and adults may face discrimination based only on the number on a scale. Research from suggests they are less likely to be accepted to a good college and may also have less of a change of getting a good job. Overweight women have a less likelihood of dating or finding a partner too.

Reducing obesity, improving nutrition and increasing daily activity can help lower the costs of health care. Healthier people have fewer doctor visits, less tests, less prescription drugs, and less sick days than those who are obese. Overweight individuals tend to have more complications with medical procedures which ultimately leads to the cost of health insurance to rise for everyone. Obesity is one of the biggest drivers of preventable chronic disease and healthcare costs in the US according to These costs range from $142 billion - $210 billion per year. Approximately $11 billion was spent on medical expenses for obese US adults in a year. Obese adults spend 42% more on direct healthcare costs than people who maintain a healthy weight. Costs for patients at emergency rooms with chest pains were also higher for severely obese (28% higher) and for overweight patients (22% higher).

People that are considered obese tend to pay way more a year on life insurance that a healthy person. A person who falls under the obese category may not even get approved for life insurance. If you die without life insurance your family will most likely have a lot of debt to pay off including house, car, credit card bills, etc.

One reason that supports my claim is that according to, a site devoted to insurance, “Obese people tend to pay 2x as much a year on life insurance than a healthy person.” Extra pounds can literally cost you. General health fails when you carry extra weight. Your knees, back, feet all can suffer from too much weight constantly put on them. Some obese people can’t even walk and are using wheelchairs to get around.

Obesity is associated with job absence (Being sick and missing work). This cost approximately $4.3 billion annually and with lower productivity at work costing employers about $506 per obese worker per year according to As a person's BMI (Body Mass Index) increases so do the number of sick days, medical claims and healthcare costs. According to a 2008 study by the Urban Institute, The New York Academy of Medicine and TFAH found that “An investment of $10 per person in community based programs to increase physical activity, improve nutrition and prevent smoking and other tobacco use could save the country more than $16 billion annually within the next five years. That is a return of $ .60 for every $1 invested.”

Many would argue that through school lunches the government is wasting taxpayer money on buying healthy food for the kids when the kids are just throwing the food out. However it takes time and effort to break bad habits. Most taxpayers would rather spend the money to lower the obesity rate then to pay to treat the obese through health insurance.

Obesity just doesn’t happen overnight and takes year of bad habits of poor eating, not enough exercising and DNA. Parents play a major role in childhood obesity. Kids do not food shop or cook meals and it’s a parent's job to make healthy food taste exquisite. Parents lead by example to give children the right tools to make good decisions and to live a healthy life. In conclusion, being healthy and fit makes you feel better about yourself and you will live a longer, more fulfilled life.


Fretful Student

Brielle Elementary

Eighth Grade Citizens

The students in the eighth grade who wished to post their letters are featured here. Students worked for several weeks in both Social Studies and Language Arts classes, crafting their arguments. They participated in Penpal Schools Decision 2016 as well as Media Literacy Week.

All letters from this group →