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Obesity

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A poor diet, lack of exercise and exposures to environmental chemicals have contributed to the rise in childhood obesity to epidemic proportions. In the past 30 years, obesity in children has more than doubled, and more than quadrupled in adolescents (CDC). As of 2012, more than one-third of children or adolescents were overweight or obese (American Heart Association). Obesity increases kids’ risk of developing cardiovascular disease, diabetes, bone and joint problems, and cancer (CDC). Obese children are also more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression (American Heart Association).

Excess weight during childhood, costs an estimated at $3 billion per year in direct medical costs (LetsMove.gov).  The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates an the incremental lifetime medical cost of $19,000 for an obese child relative to a normal weight child who becomes a normal weight adult (AAP).  

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that may be related to obesity, characterized by risk factors that also increase a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. A 2013 study found that 12 percent of overweight children and 29 percent of obese children had metabolic syndrome. It has increased from approximately 2 percent of children and adolescents in the mid-1990s to a current estimate of 10 percent for the United States and Western Europe.

Excess weight during childhood, costs an estimated at $3 billion per year in direct medical costs (LetsMove.gov).  The American Academy of Pediatrics estimates an the incremental lifetime medical cost of $19,000 for an obese child relative to a normal weight child who becomes a normal weight adult (AAP).  

 

Metabolic syndrome is a condition that may be related to obesity, characterized by risk factors that also increase a person’s risk for heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. A 2013 study found that 12 percent of overweight children and 29 percent of obese children had metabolic syndrome. It has increased from approximately 2 percent of children and adolescents in the mid-1990s to a current estimate of 10 percent for the United States and Western Europe.


Why has obesity become so prevalent?  One cause is our dependence on unhealthful, processed foods loaded with synthetic preservatives and additives.  Many people - children especially - go weeks at a time without enjoying a nourishing home-cooked meal.  Increased portion sizes can deliver 2-3 times the necessary amount of calories per meal.  Video games and passive channel-surfing have replaced good old-fashioned sports as our national pasttime.

The consequences of eating too much and moving too little are serious, especially for our kids.  Overweight children are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease, high cholesterol, elevated insulin levels, elevated blood pressure, and asthma. They're also much more likely to develop chronic conditions like hypertension and type 2 diabetes as adults.  (Source: Growing Up Green: Baby & Child Care by Deirdre Imus)

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Last updated 6-14-2016

 

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