The latest statistics show that an alarming percentage of the population is overweight. This trend has been increasing over the past few decades. It was thought to be a concern primarily for adults but now has become a crisis for children. Different studies agree on the severity of the problem and its contribution to other medical disorders such as Heart and Blood Vessel disease, Cancer,Diabetes, Musculoskeletal Degeneration,Asthma, and Liver Disease.
Excess weight in childhood is a strong predictor of overweight in adolescence and adulthood.
Approximately 30.3 % of children ages 6 to 11 are overweight. 15 % of those are obese.
The prevalence of obesity has quadrupled over 25 years. (1974 to 2000)
There may be many reasons for this including:
- Significant decrease in activity and exercise
- Increase in consumption of junk foods and candies
- Increase in consumption of fast foods and prepackaged goods
- Manufacturers extreme marketing techniques for foods that are high in fats and carbohydrates
- Lack of exercise education and nutritional education in all schools
- Lack of physical activity mandates in schools
And the list goes on.
Awareness is the first and one of the most important steps to changing the course of obesity and overweight.
Education and practical application need to be pursued.
In all of my patients, whether adult or children, I recommend following a supervised low carb diet, in coordination with daily exercise.
Carbohydrate intake of 30 grams per day or less will enable the body to burn fat much more easily.
Walking for 30 to 45 min daily will greatly enhance metabolic response and help burn fat as well.
Is is certainly time that we aggressively conquer the obesity / overweight crisis.
Dr. Chris Calapai
Overweight in Early Childhood Increases Chances for Obesity at Age 12
Children who are overweight as toddlers or preschoolers are more likely to be overweight or obese in early adolescence, report researchers in a collaborative study by the NIH and several academic institutions.
The researchers periodically collected height and weight measurements of a sample of children, beginning at age 2 and continuing until age 12. Their analysis, appearing in the September Pediatrics, provides some of the strongest evidence to date that overweight in early childhood increase the chances for overweight in later life.
“These findings underscore the need to maintain a healthy weight beginning in early childhood,” said Duane Alexander, M.D., the Director of NIH’s National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, which funded the study. “Contrary to popular belief, young children who are overweight or obese typically won’t lose the extra weight simply as a result of getting older.”
A large number of studies have found that obesity persists from childhood, through adolescence and into adulthood. Obese adolescents are likely to become overweight adults and, as such, at risk for the complications of obesity — cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, stroke, and diabetes.
- Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are overweight or obese: 66.3
- Percent of noninstitutionalized adults age 20 years and over who are obese: 32
- Percent of adolescents age 12-19 years who are overweight: 17
- Percent of children age 6-11 years who are overweight: 19
- Overweight, obesity, and healthy weight among persons 20 years of age and over, by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin, and poverty status: 1960-62 through 1999-2002
- Overweight children and adolescents by sex, age, race, and Hispanic origin, and poverty status: 1963-65 through 1999-2002
Ethnic issues in the epidemiology of childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity may be seen as a marker for high-risk dietary and physical inactivity practices. Recent increases in the prevalence of overweight and obesity among American children are not limited to one age, gender, or ethnic group, which suggests that unique behaviors of the members of various racial or ethnic subgroups of the population are unlikely to be the major contributing factors.
Rather, it seems that environmental changes promoting increased energy intake and decreased energy output are occurring and have widespread impact on children from various backgrounds. Although no ethnic group is immune from the current shift in energy balance, differential rates of overweight seem to exist among ethnic groups.
National probability samples of African-American, Hispanic, and white children in the United States provide clear evidence that white children are at lower risk for childhood overweight than are African-American or Hispanic children. Of concern is the lack of national data on the prevalence of overweight and obesity for Native-American and Asian-American groups. Also of concern is the aggregation of racial and ethnic subgroups, which may render prevalence rates meaningless. This possibility is clearly true with some surveys of weight status that combine diverse populations, such as Asians and Pacific Islanders, into one group.
The high rates of obesity in African-American, Hispanic, and Native-American children are of concern. Although parental SES is associated inversely with childhood obesity among whites, higher SES does not seem to protect African-American and Hispanic children against obesity. In these groups, childhood obesity does not seem to be associated significantly with parental income and education. Health consequences of childhood obesity include a higher prevalence of type 2 diabetes and an increased risk for adverse levels of lipids, lipoproteins, and blood pressure.
The effects of recently reported unprecedented levels of childhood overweight on subsequent risk for obesity in middle age are not known until future longitudinal data can be collected. It seems likely, however, that future health consequences of current early and severe childhood obesity will be staggering. Funding for adult follow-up of longitudinal studies of high-risk African American, Hispanic, and Native-American children is needed urgently to provide information on the long-term effects of childhood obesity.
Halting the obesity epidemic is a formidable task, but the success in recent decades of drastically reducing childhood undernutrition offers hope and should spur similar action and leadership efforts. Promotion of efforts to reduce excess caloric intake with efforts to increase energy expenditure should receive paramount attention in the design of health programs. Given the relatively few published obesity-prevention and treatment studies that are designed to address specific cultural issues, it is important to promote the development of culturally appropriate intervention strategies that are shown to be effective among youth of diverse backgrounds.
Although the dietary and activity goals will be similar, parental, family, and community messages and techniques grounded in cultural traditions and norms will be different for each ethnic group. This approach is crucial in the United States, a country with an increasingly diverse population.