261118 Childhood obesity-1/2

261118 Childhood obesity-1/2

Health care and fitness professionals throughout the United States and other affluent nations are increasingly alarmed at the growing epidemic of childhood obesity. This upward spiral of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease demands immediate attention if changes in these unhealthy trends are to be reversed. Perhaps a quick look at the problem will set the tone for action.

The National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) states that more than nine million of our children are overweight. Obesity in our 2-6 year old preschool children, and adolescents, 12-19 years old has doubled since the 1970’s. This rate has tripled in the 6-11 year olds!

Unfortunately, similar increases have occurred within the adult population during this nearly four-decade period.

We are not active enough to ward off this onslaught of health problems as evidenced by the fact that over half of the 12-21 year olds do not regularly engage in vigorous activity or exercise. Some blame the television or computer. The statistics are clear that overweight and obese children watch more television or play on the computer more than their healthier and lower weight peers.

Not only are these kids fatter but 7% of them suffer from sleep apnea when their breathing temporarily stops or is suspended briefly periodically throughout the night. This causes a lack of restful sleep that continues to accumulate. Loss of sleep upsets the hormonal balances within the body. These hormones regulate body fat levels.