Southern Arizona youth advocate for health - Tucson News Now

Southern Arizona youth advocate for health

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The obesity crisis in American is at alarming levels. An entire generation of children, that because of their weight, may not live as long as their parents.

In Arizona, more than a quarter of all teenagers are considered overweight or obese, according to the most recent data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Among young people, Arizona is the 15th fattest nation in the state.

Part of the problem is the cheap and easy, but unhealthy choices which surround us each day.

Today, teen health ambassadors from all over Southern Arizona met, hoping to change the conversation, peer-to-peer.

"When we show them how much fat is in each food that's when we get the most disgust out of it and people are like, 'well I won't eat that again,'" Brandon Bautista, a senior at Desert View High School said.

Brandon is one of about one hundred students that attended today's leadership summit for teen health ambassadors.

At the 4-H high ropes course, they learned about teamwork and leadership, but the main focus was on nutrition and being a leader for healthy eating, and finding a way to start combating obesity.

Each student here is a member of "SWAT" the Student Wellness Advocacy Team.

Students say one of the biggest problems they run into is that their peers don't seem to always care, so there's a lot of education involved.

"So that's the idea," Elizabeth Sparks the 4-H Youth Development Assistant Agent said. "Students are teaching other students, as opposed to us saying, 'You need to eat your kale.' It doesn't come across as well," she said.

United Healthcare sponsored today's event, the first and largest of its kind in our area.

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