Childhood Obesity - "Our
critical answer to this problem is that we all must work together to help our children make physical activity a life-long
the first time in four generations a child's life expectancy may not match their parents." William
- 1 in 10 Americal children are obese.
- The problem is getting worse.
- Between 16 to 25 percent
of children are overweight and about the same number are at risk of becoming so.
are about 9 lbs hevier today than in the 1960's and the average teen's weight has increased to 12 to 16 pounds over 40 years,
according to recent goverment statistics.
- More than 10% of US children 2 to
5 are overweight.
The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11
more than doubled in the past 20 years, going from 6.5% in 1980 to 17.0% in 2006. The rate among adolescents aged 12 to 19
more than tripled, increasing from 5% to 17.6%.1 Obesity is the result of caloric imbalance (too few calories expended
for the amount of calories consumed) and is mediated by genetics and health.2 Obese youth are more likely to have
risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample
of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese children had at least one CVD risk factor.3 In addition, children who are obese
are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization
and poor self-esteem.2,4 Obese young people are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight
or obese adults, and therefore more at risk for associated adult health problems, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes,
stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.4 Healthy lifestyle habits, including healthy eating
and physical activity, can lower the risk of becoming obese and developing related diseases.2
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The risk of becoming obese is greater among children who have two obese parents.
average American child spends several hours each day watching TV, time which in previous generations would have been devoted
to physical activity.
Obesity is greater among children and
adolescents who frequently watch TV because little energy is expended while watching TV but also becaus of the consumption
of high-calorie snacks.
Early and appropriate intervention
is valuable. There is considerable evidence that childhood eating and exercise habits are more easily modified than
According to National
Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion
The Role of Schools in Addressing Childhood Obesity [pdf 627K] outlines 10 evidence-based strategies for schools to implement in
addressing childhood obesity.
See Nutrition: School Health Guidelines for strategies most likely to be effective in promoting healthy eating among young people. Information includes
the full text as published in the MMWR and more.
See Physical Activity: School and Community Guidelines for strategies most likely to be effective in promoting physical activity among young people. Information
includes the full text as published in the MMWR, a summary of the guidelines, and more.
2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people two years and older about how good dietary habits can
promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. They serve as the basis for Federal food and nutrition education
2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for
Americans. These guidelines, the first to be issued by the federal government, present science-based recommendations to help
persons aged 6 years or older improve their health through physical activity.
Physical Activity Brochures are designed to help parents, teachers, and principals increase physical activity among elementary and middle