Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity in America

Childhood obesity has exploded over the last few decades. Estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) say the rate is now double or triple what is was in the 1980's. Today the percentage of children who are overweight or obese is approaching 20 percent, according to government statistics.

That is, of course, just a small percentage compared to the 65 percent of adults that are considered either overweight or obese. Being overweight is linked to a multitude of health problems in adults, including a higher risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain cancers and other chronic conditions. For children, being overweight means greater health risks as well. NIH says that type 2 diabetes used to be rare in children, but up to 45 percent of new cases of diabetes in children are now type 2.

Being overweight also puts a child at greater risk of being overweight or obese when they get older. They also can have, even while they are still young, multiple risk factors for heart disease, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. CDC says one study showed that up to 70 percent of obese children had at least one heart disease risk factor.

CDC says overweight young people also are at greater risk of muscular and skeletal problems and they are even more likely to have sleep apnea than their normal weight peers.

For more information about childhood obesity, click here.