Time for Health?

Time for Health?

Madison Ross

For many high schoolers, especially during the school year, there never seems to be enough time. With responsibilities like school, homework, friends, family, sports, clubs, and part-time jobs filling each day, it can be hard to find enough time for things like sleep, food, and exercise. Although many might relate to this, there are many consequences to this lifestyle that you may not be aware of, which this article will shed light on.

This lifestyle may be a common aspect of the high school experience, but, unfortunately, recent studies have found that this issue is not isolated to high schoolers. Many Americans, even adults, also feel like they don’t have enough time to take care of themselves. According to the New York Post, a poll conducted with over 2000 Americans found that “64 percent” feel like “they don’t have time” to take care of their health. Two-thirds of our country lack the time necessary for proper rest, nutrition, or exercise, which is a real problem. The same poll also found that “66 percent” of the country “tend to partake in unhealthy habits… when they are stressed”. It is no secret that a lifestyle that leaves no time for rest creates stress: therefore, being overscheduled, as many Americans are, leaves no time for healthy habits and encourages unhealthy ones.

This cycle of stress and habits is prevalent among the majority of the population, and its effects are evident. According to “a recent study, published in the Journal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics”… there was “a 20 percent increase in anxiety diagnoses in kids ages 6 to 17 between the years 2007 and 2012”. Americans have overscheduled both themselves and their kids, contributing to a youth mental health crisis. This crisis comes alongside a recent increase in physical health problems, such as obesity. According to an article published by the Harvard University School of Public Health, “sleep deprivation (i.e., regularly less than 7 hours of sleep a night) is a risk factor for obesity”. So, someone who is too busy to get enough sleep is more likely to be obese. According to the CDC, by 2017-2018, the obesity rate in the United States reached “42.4%”. This is a problem because, according to the same article, “Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer. These are among the leading causes of preventable, premature death”. Not only might an overly-scheduled life lead to issues that could cause suffering and premature death, but it can also cause financial hardship. The same article from the CDC states that in America, “medical costs for people who had obesity was $1,429 higher than medical costs for people with healthy weight”. 

So the next time you find yourself going through a busy day, or staying up late to finish an assignment, take a moment to consider the long-term effects of your lifestyle. Going to bed just an hour earlier or taking measures to reduce your stress throughout the day are both small steps that could lead to a healthier and happier life.