Weighing in on Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is on the rise. Over the past 3 decades the percentage of obese children ages 6-11 has more than doubled; among adolescents, the rates have more than tripled. Obese children are 70-80% more likely to become obese adults, and are at risk for immediate and long-term health complications.

  • Obese children and teens are experiencing health conditions previously considered “adult” diseases such as cardiovasuclar disease, type 2 diabetes, and high blood pressure.
  • In one study, 70% of obese children had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor while 39% had two or more.
  • Additional conditions often experienced by obese children include asthma, sleep apnea, psychosocial issues, and low self-esteem.
  • A recent study by Mount Sinai School of Medicine indicates a sharp increase in hospitalizations for obese children – doubling in frequency (42,000 occurences) and costs ($238M) during a five-year period.

So what’s causing the spread of obesity among our youth? While there is no one culprit – behavioral, genetic, and environmental factors all contribute to a child’s weight – current lifestyle trends have a serious impact on the health of our children.