Exercise and eating healthy were the least of my concerns in high school. I was focused on keeping my hair fly and buying new outfits. Looking back I realize how unimportant healthy eating and exercise were to me. Lunch at my high school consisted of Flamin' hots w/nacho cheese and a Geyser (a sugary filled drink) or food from McDonalds. None of my friends were focused on exercise or eating healthy either (unless they were athletes). I realize now how detrimental these habits were to my health.
I did not recognize the importance of exercise until I attended a PWI (predominately white institution). I noticed that all the white chicks were hitting the gym on a daily basis and wouldn't touch food unless it was marked low carb or low fat. They were extremely health conscious and always sharing the latest news from their "Fitness Magazines." So while I was busy eating what I wanted and gaining the freshman 15/20 they maintained their healthy bodies. I eventually realized that I needed to hit the gym and change my eating habits.
It has always been hard for me to understand why "Exercise and Healthy Eating" was common knowledge among them. Clearly, I was completely out of the loop, where I grew up you didn't exercise unless you were on a sports team.
I found an article that evaluated ethnic disparities in teen exercise. Here are some of the key findings:
* Overall, black and Hispanic girls reported less activity than white girls -- an average of 5.4, 5.2 and 6.0 activities per week, respectively. In contrast, among boys, the number of activities per week was similar for blacks (7.6), Hispanics (7.5) and whites (7.6).
*On average, black and Hispanic adolescents had a higher body mass index (BMI) than white adolescents.
* In general, black and Hispanic girls attended poorer schools in which all girls had lower physical activity levels
*Overall, adolescent girls were less physically active than boys, reporting fewer physical activities per week.
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Share Your Thoughts!
What has your experience been? When did you recognize the importance of exercise?
Why do you think Black and Hispanic Teens don't get as much exercise?