During the past 20 years, Americans have seen increases in the number of computers, the volume of fast food orders, the quantity of high-fat food choices and the popularity of video games. But the most alarming increase is the rise in overweight and obesity rates. Even more disturbing is that overweight and obesity trends do not exclude children. The number of overweight children has nearly doubled during the past two decades. And the situation seems to be worsening rather than improving.
The following obesity statistics show the frightening facts:
Obesity trends among youth are particularly troubling because overweight and obese children and adolescents are likely to become overweight or obese adults. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that “the more overweight you are, the more likely you are to have health problems.”
The following list shows the problems related to being overweight and obese:
- Each year, poor nutrition and physical inactivity account for approximately 300,000 premature deaths in the United States.
- Type II diabetes, an obesity-related disease generally found in adults, can now be found among children who are obese.
- The CDC predicts that one third of youth born in 2000 will develop Type II diabetes.
- Obesity is linked to the nation’s leading killer cardiovascular disease.
- Sixty percent of overweight children ages 5-10 have one or more risk factors for heart disease or diabetes.
- Health officials predict that people will begin to experience heart disease and diabetes in their 20’s and 30’s.
- Obesity can lead to impaired mobility and poor quality of life.
- Overweight individuals are more likely to develop heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancer, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea and osteoarthritis.
Nevertheless, an individual can control many of the factors that cause obesity. According to the American Obesity Association, modifiable causes of obesity include sedentary behavior and food choice. Newsweek reports that less than 25 percent of school-age children get 20 minutes of vigorous daily physical activity, which is below the 30-60 minutes of activity recommended by the American Heart Association. And only one state, Illinois, requires daily physical education for students grades K-12.
Community Fitness & Education (CFEI) is fighting childhood obesity around the nation through its Student Walk-a-thons and Celebrity Sporting Events. Through its Program, the organization aims to America’s youth to new levels of health and fitness at a time of alarming trends in obesity, inactivity and declining health patterns. By teaching children about physical fitness and proper nutrition, CFEI hopes to instill healthy habits in children that will remain with them through the rest of their lives.