Current Facts and Statistics Currently in the United States, obesity is the #2 cause of preventable deaths ("Obesity Related Statistics in America”). Approximately 17% or 12.5 million children and adolescents ages 2-19 are obese ("Childhood Overweight and Obesity”). Since 1980, obesity among children and adolescents has nearly tripled ("Childhood Overweight and Obesity”). Almost 75% of parents with a child who is obese could not see that their child is overweight, because their child appears to be normal in their eyes ("Childhood Obesity Facts”). Three out of ten mothers and six out of ten fathers treated their childs’ weight as normal when, the truth was that these kids were at an unhealthy weight ("Childhood Obesity Facts”). Believe it or not, it is possible for children to have a gastric bypass surgery, but the cost can range from $25,000 and more ("Childhood Obesity Facts”). Obesity costs the United State $147 billion a year in weight-related medical bills (“Hall”).
What Causes Childhood Obesity? There are countless causes of childhood obesity. Being overweight is generally caused by eating too many calories and not getting enough physical activity ("Childhood Overweight and Obesity"). However genetics and social factors can contribute to this. Socio-economic status, race, ethnicity, media, marketing and the physical environment can have a great influence on children ("Childhood Obesity").
Most of the foods we eat are quick and easy such as fast food restaurants, microwavable and prepackaged meals. Plus, now more than ever kids are inactive. Kids spend more time playing with video game systems, on computers, or watching television, than actively playing outside. Older children and teenagers spend almost 5 ½ hours a day watching TV, DVDs/videos, on a computer, or playing video games ("Overweight and Obesity"). These kids are more likely to be overweight compared to than kids who watch 2 hours or less. Many kids don’t get enough physical activity. Physical Education (PE) in schools can help kids get up and moving, but 35 minutes of activity each week is not enough. Current guidelines recommend that kids 2 and older should get at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity on most (preferably all) days of the week ("Overweight and Obesity"). Genetics also play a role, genes help determine body type and how your body stores and burns fat. However, genes alone cannot explain the current obesity crisis. Both genes and habits can be passed down from one generation to the next, especially if multiple family members struggle with weight. People in the same family typically have similar eating patterns, and maintain the same levels of physical activity. Studies have shown that a child’s risk of being obese increases if one or more parent is overweight or obese ("Overweight and Obesity").
Treatment and Prevention Unfortunately, there is no single or simple solution to