Childhood Obesity & Schools
Today, childhood obesity is a major epidemic facing our society. Since 1980, the rate of childhood obesity has doubled, and has tripled in adolescents. (CDC, 2006) Childhood obesity rates have increased dramatically over the past four decades, quadrupling among children ages 6-11 and more than tripling among youth ages 12-19. This statistic alone shows how prevalent childhood obesity is in the US. The U.S. Surgeon General has identified the obesity epidemic as one of the greatest health problems facing the nation today. Obesity can impact children’s ability to reach their full potential. Children and youth who attend schools that offer nutritious foods, promote active lifestyles, and limit the access to junk food perform better in school and learn behaviors that will keep them healthier throughout their lifetimes. (Hooker, 2010) Overweight and obese children have an increased risk of a host of health conditions, such as type II diabetes and heart disease, both in their childhood and into adulthood. Obesity is affected primarily by the quality of diet and the amount of physical activity in which students engage.(NSBA, 2012) Educating parents, students, and educators are the most effective way of preventing childhood obesity. Schools that have an effective nutritional plan can and will decrease the rates of obesity in that particular school. One of the most harmful consequences of the obesity epidemic is the damage it does to our economy. In 2000, the total cost of obesity (including medical costs and the value of wages lost by employees unable to work because of illness, disability, or premature death) in the United States was approximately $117 billion. (NSBA, 2004) With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimating that more than one in three children born in 2000 will eventually suffer from diabetes, the future costs of weight-related health care could be...
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