Before I go on to list some sobering childhood obesity facts, here’s the one that hits me hardest:
Yale University found that overweight children are routinely teased and bullied by peers and even teachers and parents. That’s now 35 percent of all kids, half of whom qualify as obese. The Yale study concludes that “obese children had quality-of-life scores comparable with those of children with cancer.”
Clearly, buying your child a treat every time you’re at the store, eating fast food a couple of times a week, and stocking your home with high-fat, sugary snacks is hurting your kids in more ways than physically.
It’s not “baby fat.” It’s FAT. It leads to a lifetime of health (not to mention emotional) problems. Many of these kids have atherosclerosis—hardened arteries full of plaque. Overweight children have a 70 percent chance of becoming overweight adults. And I believe that statistic will rise without major societal change, since we haven’t yet tested fully what will happen with this generation of overweight children, never before seen in history.
The U.S. spends $177 billion on obesity-related health care. That’s $0.83 of every health care dollar. No surprise when obesity is the primary cause of cardiovascular disease, our top killer. Then, of course, we have the meteoric surge in diabetes, also related to obesity. What happens in 10-20 years, when these “childhood obesity facts” are adults in the health-care system?
My next blog: what effect just one factor—SODA DRINKING—has on all this. Because if you feel overwhelmed by all the ways your child’s health (physical AND emotional) is at risk–at school, social events, and at home–simply having a talk about soda and getting the whole family off it could make a huge difference.