One nation, overweight

Recently,prevalence overweight One nation, overweight the Kansas City Star reported on Cali Ann Denham, an individual who has the cholesterol, high blood pressure and triglycerides of a middle-aged woman. The problem is that Cali is just four years old. She weighs 85 pounds.

Alarmingly, stories such as Cali’s are becoming increasingly more common. Since the mid-1970s, obesity rates among American children have tripled. Today, over 16 percent of children and adolescents ages two to 19 are obese.

Are we so desensitized that we don’t see the magnitude of this issue? How can we continue to sit back and raise generations of obese kids? A nation of ill and overweight children apparently isn’t enough to prompt us to take action. Even if we believe there have been improvements in our school lunch programs or the number of children walking to school, more is required to turn the situation around.

It’s evident our children are sick. According to the American Heart Association, childhood obesity is now the number one health concern among parents in the U.S., topping drug abuse and smoking. Obesity is causing a range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression than non-obese children.

Action is needed to help future generations. To do nothing is to condemn children such as Cali to a life of healthcare misery and, most likely, an early grave.

What on earth will it take to alter this dire situation? If sick children aren’t enough to force a change, perhaps economics will work. Healthcare costs per U.S. citizen were over $8,000 in 2008. The Kaiser Family Foundation forecasted that by 2013 that share will skyrocket to over $13,000.

So let’s tackle childhood obesity for the good of our children and the health of our wallets.

It is a complicated situation and we believe more play is part of the solution. What’s your idea?



  1. Kathy | December 9, 2011

    This is a very difficult issue to solve, since there are so many factors. You have availability, advertising, big business, and the schools providing the processed and fattening foods. There is no way to go up against where the money is, so it all has to start at home with the parents.

    I know I have said this in other posts, but it is absolutely imperative that parents educate their children about the health issues they are facing, and the choices that they make.

    It all starts with parents, and we must,must,must find a way to make time to get more involved in our childrens’ lives. This is the only way that childhood obesity will be stemmed, because the schools cannot and should not be relied up to teach our children what good decisions are, and how to make them. The schools receive their funds from big business, and unfortunately, they are providing the foods that our children are eating.

    It is our responsibility to help guide our children to engage in exercise, and to try and do things with them. We need to make an effort to eat healthy, and teach them what eating healthy is all about, and why it is important. It is all about balance, and making sure that children learn how to balance the occasional junk foods with healthier foods during meals and for snacks.


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