According to the Centers for Disease Control, “a survey was taken illustrating the increase in overweight children. From ages 2-5 years, overweight increased from 5% to 13.9%; for children ages 6-11 years, the rate rose from 6.5% to 18.8%, and for kids from 12-19 years of age, the rate increased from 5% to 17.4%.”
Moreover, in a 2003-2004 survey from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey it was determined that “17% of children and adolescents ages 2-19 are overweight. Here are their statistics: Overweight children ages 2-5 years rose from 7.2% to 13.9%; ages 6-11 years increased 11% to 19%, and ages 12-19 increased from 11% to 17%.”
Obesity is a pandemic in our society and these alarming statistics are evidence of just how unhealthy our children are. While measures are being taken in most states to ban Trans fat, it is clear that our children are still consuming fast foods and snacks and are not adhering to any type of nutritional diet.
With computers, video games and TV it is no wonder our kids are not exercising as often as they should. Moreover, most commercial ads on TV target young children and teens with their latest fast food extravaganza. However, there is more reason to be concerned about our children’s health.
Families whose lifestyle is sedentary, or moms and dads who are overweight, are two contributing factors to overweight children. Genetically speaking, there are studies which indicate that overweight children can inherit specific genes which cause them to have a larger body mass. So too, recent research indicates that the hypothalamus gland is now considered to be one of the causes of obesity in children and adults. However, more studies are being conducted to determine how obesity can be halted and eventually cured.
The United States has the highest obesity level than any other country. Yet in Japan, obesity is almost non-existent because their diet consists of high fiber and low fat meals. Obesity can kill. It is the number one cause of cardiovascular disease among children and adults.
You may have heard that people are living longer these days. Contrary to this belief, a recent survey determined that 77.5 is the median age for us as compared to every other nation in the world whose longevity age is higher. In fact, we are ranked in the low 20’s. This says a great deal about not only our lifestyle but our nutritional values as well.
Children are a precious commodity and obesity is the catalyst that is causing a decline in their health. Pediatricians are more than concerned about the rise in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and other chronic illnesses that are direct causes of obesity in children. Being overweight is not just a serious health issue; it is a social issue as well. Until additional research can find a cure, most experts recommend portion control for overweight children including a nutritional diet and exercise program.
We all want our children to live long and healthy lives and anything else is unacceptable.