Childhood obesity should be on many resolution lists
As we make our New Year's resolutions for 2008, consider not only our own health, wellness and body conditioning, but those of our children, for which we are responsible.
A third of America's 74 million children are considered dangerously overweight or obese. Since 1963, the weight of an average 10-year-old girl has gone from 77 pounds to 88, with boys increasing from 74 to 85 pounds. Four-year-old girls today are six times more likely to have a body mass index of 30 or more than they were 20 years ago, says an article by the Society for Women's Health Research in which it ranks its top women's health stories for 2007.
The findings point to recent changes in children's environment and lifestyles, which merit monitoring, further research, and action, given the health risks associated with adulthood obesity such as increased risks for cardiovascular disease and type-2 diabetes. Along with the personal risks, childhood obesity also poses a threat to the nation's health care system. Studies show it costs up to $14 billion a year in medical care to treat overweight kids.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, plans to spend $500 million to support programs that combat childhood obesity. This is the largest amount of private money ever spent to reduce the public health problem of America's children eating more junk food, exercising less and getting heavier. Dr. Risa Lavisso-Mourey, president and CEO of this Foundation, states "If we don't turn this epidemic around and halt the rise in childhood obesity, we are going to have the first generation of kids who actually are sicker and die younger than their parents."
Healthy habits start at home. Your children are depending on your example for 2008 and their future.
Carolyn Bloom is a licensed physical therapist practicing in Eudora, Lawrence and Topeka.