Monday, July 6, 2009

Need for Change Childhood Obesity in the U.S.

Need for Change Childhood Obesity in the U.S.
According to a recent report adult obesity was shown to have risen in 31 states to over 25 % and correspondingly the childhood obesity also showed an increase wherein they have more than tripled since 1980.

The report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released Wednesday showed that that child obesity rates are at an all time high across the nation. The report said that overall obesity rates have risen in almost half of the 50 states with Mississippi at number one slot with 32.5 % and Colorado the lowest at 18.9 %.

Scientists predicted the "perfect storm" that has brewed the overweight epidemic facing America's children today. Dr. Frank Chaloupka, professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago said, "We have in our schools and communities a perfect storm that will continue to feed the childhood obesity epidemic until we adopt policies that improve the health of our communities and our kids."

The TFAH report was based on data from 2004 to 2006 taken by the Centers for Disease Control. The study, covered 26,706 children this year, and concluded that only 37.6 % of the children weighed normal according to their height.

Health officials called the figures “tragic” proof of an obesity epidemic forecast affecting the health of millions, with increasing rates of heart disease, diabetes, cancer and even limb amputations.

The study researchers said the reason was elementary-too little exercise and too many calories. Also the proximity of fast food restaurants in every neighborhood makes less healthy food conveniently available to children at all times.

Schools also contribute to the problem by making high fat, sugary foods and drinks readily available for the children. TV commercials promoting sweets and fast food were also found to effect the younger generation. A study of more than 200,000 ads of top-rated shows for teens aged 12 to 17 years, found more than 23 % of all ads were for fast-food.

Other factors which contribute to childhood obesity are cutbacks in physical education classes in school and the physical layout of towns that make walking and bike-riding dangerous activities. The researchers said 87 % of 13 to 14-year olds were required to take P.E. classes at schools, but in the case of 17 to 18-year olds only 20 % were required to take the classes.

Dr. Jeff Levi, Executive Director of the TFAH said, "There has been a breakthrough in terms of drawing attention to the obesity epidemic. Now we need a breakthrough in terms of policies and results. Poor nutrition and physical activity are robbing America of our health and productivity."