The number of American children suffering from obesity has tripled over the past 50 years. Childhood obesity is one of the most serious health challenges facing the U.S. Most cases of childhood obesity have behavioral or environmental origins as opposed to genetic roots.
Did you know?
1. Almost half of the children in the U.S. who are diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes would not have diabetes if they were not obese.
2. Currently, childhood obesity costs the U.S. $14 billion annually. Obesity-related illnesses are estimated to cost $66 billion per year by 2030.
3. New diagnoses of asthma have increased by 52 percent in children and adolescents. Experts suspect a strong link between asthma and diabetes in children and teens.
4. Children with obesity are at higher risk of heart disease. 70 percent of youth who are obese have at least one risk factor for heart disease. Heart disease risk from high blood pressure and high cholesterol increases for obese children.
5. Overweight children miss school 4 times more frequently than children who are not overweight. The fear of being bullied, teased or embarrassed often prevents overweight children from participating in healthy physical activities.
6. Excessive snacking results in additional consumption of 200 calories per day of unhealthy snack foods and beverages. States that restrict the sale of snack foods and beverages in schools show lower rates of unhealthy weight gain in youth.
7. The four to five hours per day that a typical child spends watching TV, using the computer or playing video games increases the likelihood of excess weight gain. This sedentary behavior contributes to a lifetime of obesity.
8. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends that children and teens practice activity equal to 60 minutes of vigorous walking every day. Only one out of every four children participates in any free-time physical activity of any type on a regular basis.
9. The life expectancy of obese children is reduced by at least five years when obesity is permanent.
10. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, only 2 percent of American children enjoy healthy diets. A survey of high school seniors found that only 3 out of every 10 teens eat vegetables of any amount on a daily basis.