The Epidemic of Childhood Obesity

Learn the Facts
“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.” 
—First Lady Michelle Obama at the Let’s Move! launch on February 9, 2010

Obesity by the Numbers
Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. The numbers are even higher in African American and Hispanic communities, where nearly 40% of the children are overweight or obese. If we don’t solve this problem, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives. Many others will face chronic obesity-related health problems like heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer, and asthma.

How Did We Get Here?
Thirty years ago, most people led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class, and played for hours after school before dinner. Meals were home-cooked with reasonable portion sizes and there was always a vegetable on the plate. Eating fast food was rare and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.

Today, children experience a very different lifestyle. Walks to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games, and the internet. Parents are busier than ever and families eat fewer home-cooked meals. Snacking between meals is now commonplace.

What about Idaho?
During the past thirty years, the prevalence of overweight and obese individuals in the United States has increased among all age groups. The prevalence of overweight children ages 2 to 5 in the United States has increased from 7 percent in 1992, to 16.4 percent in 2006. Currently, in Idaho 12.4 percent of children between the ages of 2 and 5 are overweight.

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