Obesity

Rise in U.S. Childhood Obesity seen in certain age groups

There has been asudden rise in U.S. childhood obesity seen in the last few decades.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey held in 2007-2008, it is estimated that 17% of American children and adolescents belonging to the age group 2-19 are obese.

  • Within pre-school children aged 2-5 years, a rise in obesity from 5% between 1976 -1980 to over 10% in 2007-2008 was observed.
  • In the age group 6-11 years, an increase in obesity was seen from 6.5% to 19.6%.
  • Among the adolescents in the age group 12-19, the obesity levels increased from a mere 5% to a staggering 18.1%in the same time period.

How can we influence change?

  • Keep sugary drinks out of our schools
  • Schools should look into increasing healthier food choices
  • Increase advertising of healthier foods
  • Schools can increase awareness for students to meet requirements for the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
  • Creating safer communities for play and walking routes
  • More access to affordable fruits and vegetables
  • Decreasing portion sizes
  • Supportive breastfeeding programs
  • Reduce television and electronic use

The condition of childhood obesity is linked to various health conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease when compared to their peers of normal weight.

Also, there is a tendency for obese children and adolescents to become more obese after they mature into adults. According to one study, 80% of children who are overweight at 10-15 years tend to become obese by the age of 25.

It can be challenging for young children and their parents to make healthy food choices and to get the recommended amount of physical activity due to hectic schedules, safe communities, higher costs and super-fast food convenience. Big changes come from small simple steps.

References

www.cdc.gov/obesity/childhood/problem.html

www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/factsheets/factsheet_nhanes.htm

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