September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. During this time is is important to increase awareness of childhood obesity because of all the negative effects it causes. Now that school is in session, it’s a great time to start healthy routines with children along with their regular daily schedule.
According to the Center for Disease Control…
The immediate effects obesity has on children:
- Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure. In a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70% of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
- Obese adolescents are more likely to have prediabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
- Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.
The long term effects obesity has on children:
- Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. One study showed that children who became obese as early as age 2 were more likely to be obese as adults.
- Overweight and obesity are associated with increased risk for many types of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
Attached is the newspaper article from the Gazette that explains one of the projects that the WUPHD has a role in fighting the obesity epidemic that is plaguing our youth. The article ‘Everyday healthy, one day local’ explains the community group that is focusing on their farm to school program based in the Jeffers school district. The Health Department has served on this committee and plans on working closely with the schools intent on offering the CATCH program’s nutrition and physical activity curriculum.
It is exciting to be part of a health movement to make a difference in our youth’s future. Making positive changes in the school’s attitudes towards physical activity and nutrition so wellness becomes the norm is also extremely rewarding.