Imagine: a world where everyone is obese. If we are unable to stop the exponential growth of childhood obesity, this imagined world could become a reality. Presently, 17% of children in the United States are either overweight or at serious risk of becoming so. Assuming current growth rates continue, it is forecasted that more than 42% of the population will be obese by 2030. Higher body mass index is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease, type-2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension, certain types of cancer, and premature mortality. Obesity accounts for 300,000 deaths a year in the United States. This number challenges smoking as the leading preventable cause of disease and death. Each of these startling facts is reason for Barack Obama, in conjunction with the Department of Education, Department of Health and Health Services, and the Federal Trade Commission, to begin taking more of a proactive approach to putting an end to this ‘disease’.
“Why target children?” you may ask. Preventing or targeting childhood obesity is imperative given the strong link between childhood and adult obesity. The likelihood of being obese as an adult is 1.3 times greater for children who are obese at 2 years of age and 17.5 times greater for children who are obese at 15 to 17 years of age. In addition, scholars recognized a stronger association occurred at a very young age. Among obese toddlers, with a BMI over 95%, 93% of boys became obese men and 73% became obese women.
There is a national debate over whom to hold responsible for the increase in childhood obesity. Environmental targets include fast food and soft drinks, lack of physical activity, the role of technology, poor parenting, or insufficient education in schooling. But one cause is not solely at fault. Read my white paper and find out how I recommend the nation takes a united stand against this epidemic.