Childhood Obesity Statistics
According to the Journal of the American Medical Association and The National Center For Health Statistics, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
The percentage or childhood obese children rose from 7-18% in the ages of 6-11 years old in the past 25 years, and rose from 5-21% in children in the ages of 12-19 in the same period.
Overweight statistics are higher among Mexican American boys, and non-Hispanic black girls. Non-Hispanic white adolescents from lower income families are at a higher risk of being overweight than non-Hispanic white girls from higher income families.
According to author, Campagna and the “Emergence of Type 2 Diabetes in Children,” Type 2 Diabetes was almost unheard of in children 10 years ago, but today, it now accounts for 50% of new cases in children.
Childhood obesity accounts for other health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol, as well as poor self-esteem.
Obesity & U.S. Economy
In 2000, the United States spent $117 billion dollars toward the obesity epidemic. This included medical costs, the value of wages that were lost by employees because they could not work due to health issues, disability or even premature death. The future costs of healthcare will be staggering due to the statistic that 1 in 3 children born in 2000 will eventually suffer from diabetes, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Long-Term Health Effects of Obese Children
Children who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are more at risk for heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, cancer, and osteoarthritis.
How Can Schools Make A Difference?
- Designate a school health coordinator who can influence and raise support for nutritional and physical activities
- Ensure that students have healthy options of food and beverages in the school meal program
- Assess the school’s health policies and develop ongoing plans for improvement
- Implement a health program within the staff to be healthy role models for the students
- Implement a course on physical education based on rigorous national standards
- Increase opportunities for students to engage in physical activities. These could be in recess, after school programs, clubs, and intramural sport programs.
Tricks Toward Healthier Eating
- Offer water or milk instead of sugary fruit drinks and soft drinks
- Have half of your child’s plate be fruit and veggies
- Use whole grain breads and cereals instead of reduced refined grains. The higher fiber content helps children be full longer
- Bake, grill, or steam foods instead of frying them
- Limit fast food and junk food