Childhood obesity is a growing problem here in the United States. According to the National CDC, the percentage of overweight children between the ages of 6 to 11 has more than doubled in the past 20 years, going from 7% in 1980 to 18.8% almost 1 in 5 in 2004. Obesity in adolecents between 12 to 19 has more than tripled, increasing from 5% to 17.1% in the same time frame! An estimated 61% of overweight young people have at least one additional risk factor for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In addition, children who are overweight are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem. According to the National Institute of Health, obesity in kids is now at epidemic proportions in the United States!
What are some of the causes to this increasing problem? One thing being observed is a lack of physical exercise. Years ago outdoor activities were the largest source of entertainment for young people. All through the day you would hear the sound of kids playing in their front yards or in the street. Also, the average diet has changed drastically. Children are eating at fast food establishments at an ever-increasing rate! The consumption of fried, sweet, salty, fat laden food is becoming the main staple in their diets. These two conditions coupled together spell disaster for the present and future generations.
As always, the only long term solution is found in correct information and education. Education of parents as well as students is crucial in stoping this epidemic from growing. The Bible says, "My people perish for a lack of knowledge". It also says that, "Without a vision the people perish". Ah the wisdom of the Word! The One who created us knows how to keep us if we would just learn, listen and obey!
As far as our schools, we need to re-visit the importance of Physical Education, Team Sports, and Exercise Physiology. As a society we realize the importance of proper education and instead of reducing gym, art and music programs we must fund the schools to provide a complete education that prepares the young people Spiritually, Physically and Intellectually. Schools also need to look at the foods they serve as well as the snacks and drinks they provide. We lead by example!
As always, I hope this article was enlightening and I want to thank you for your imput and sugesstions for future topics!
Grace and Peace,