Is Teen Obesity Decreasing?
Encouraging kids to eat healthy foods and get physically active is easier said than done. Teens can have a tendency to not listen to adults. However, it appears that efforts such as bans on junk food and soda sold in school cafeterias and First Lady Michelle Obama’s ‘Let’s Move’ initiative may finally be paying off.
According to a new study, childhood obesity rates may be stabilizing among America’s youth, a sign that kids today are embracing a healthier lifestyle more so than they did twelve years ago.
After analyzing data from students in 6th through 10th grade between 2001 and 2009, researchers discovered that adolescents were eating better, becoming more active, and watching less TV.
That’s great news. But the job is far from finished.
Although researchers believe obesity rates are now steadying, they did increase from 10.3 percent in 2001 to 12.7 percent in 2009. And even though kids are making healthier choices, they’re still not meeting the standard for public health recommendations. According to the survey, most teens didn’t get the recommended hour or more of physical activity each day, nor did they eat more than five servings of fruits and veggies. The majority of kids also continued to consume more sweets and soda than what’s considered to be healthy.
As a result, researchers suggest that parents, teachers, and community leaders continue in the effort to reduce obesity rates and strive towards a healthy lifestyle for our children.
Over the last 30 years, obesity rates have more than doubled in children and tripled in teens. In 2010, over a third of all children and adolescents were considered overweight or obese. The problem is that they’re simply consuming significantly more calories than they burn off.
Obesity is a major public health concern; it can lead to serious short and long-term health issues. Not only are obese or overweight children at a higher risk for cardiovascular disease, they’re also more likely to have pre-diabetes, joint and bone problems, and even social and physiological problems. Those who are obese at a young age are also more likely to be obese as adults, which means they’ll be at an even greater risk for health problems such as type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, and certain types of cancer.
To reduce the risk of obesity and the negative health effects that can result, you can help by encouraging your kids to make healthier habits, promoting the benefits of physical activity, and limiting their sedentary time.
To find out more about how you can get involved, contact your local school administration or check out these resources.
Crozer-Keystone Health System provides full-service nutrition centers at its four hospitals, and is committed to the special dietary needs of its patients. For more information about Crozer-Keystone’s nutrition services, including contact information, please visit here.