Pediatric Obesity: A contemporary epidemic
Did you know that the incidence of obese children in the United States has tripled since the 1970’s? More that 1 out of 5 children aged 6-17 are clinically overweight, meaning that they have a BMI (body mass index) of over the 85 percentile.
Medical statisticians have predicted that the current generation of children will be the first to die before the age that most of their parents will. And sadly this is not due to the contagious diseases that killed our ancestors before vaccines, or to severe infections that claimed lives before the availability of antibiotics. These children will develop chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure that will reduce their life expectancy.
Currently, children who are overweight have more anxiety and depression as well as the medical risks for later disease, they are bullied more in school, and display poorer academic performance.
Intervention programs like “5-4-3-2-1-Go!” exist to intervene to correct obesity in children. This particular program comes from CLOCC (Consortium to Lower Obesity in Children in Chicago). It promotes 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings of water, 3 servings of low fat dairy, 2 hours or less of screen time and 1 hour or more of active play or exercise. (Adults are advised to drink 1/2 their body weight in ounces; for example, a 150 pound adult should drink 75 ounces of water daily.)
Thanks to nurse practitioner Lisa Radville for this post.