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Understanding Childhood Obesity. An Epidemic of Excess About 32% of children and teens in the U.S. is overweight or obese. Over the past three decades,

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Presentation on theme: "Understanding Childhood Obesity. An Epidemic of Excess About 32% of children and teens in the U.S. is overweight or obese. Over the past three decades,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Understanding Childhood Obesity

2 An Epidemic of Excess About 32% of children and teens in the U.S. is overweight or obese. Over the past three decades, the prevalence of obesity in children ages 6-11 has increased from about 4% to 20%. Overweight kids have a 70-80% chance of staying overweight their entire lives. Obese and overweight adults now outnumber those at a healthy weight; over 67% of U.S. adults are overweight or obese. Childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents, topping drug abuse and smoking.

3 What does it mean to be obese or overweight? Children and teens whose BMI-for-age is: In the 95th percentile or higher are considered obese. Between the 85th and less than the 95th percentile are considered overweight. Between the 5th and less than the 85th percentile are considered normal weight. Below the 5th percentile are considered underweight. NOTE: BMI is calculated differently in children and adults.

4 Causes of Obesity Poor Nutrition Bigger Portions Dining Out More Lack of Physical Activity Increases in “ Sedentary Screen Time” Parents’ Perceptions and Roles Lack of Sleep Situation in Schools Barriers in Healthcare Settings Marketing of Unhealthy Foods to Kids

5 Causes of Obesity – Poor Choices Eating habits have led us to a modern day “malnutrition.” Americans are eating more and more foods that are high in calories but don’t meet their nutritional needs. About 80% of Americans have a poor healthy diet score. This negatively affects cardiovascular health. Many Americans are consuming more than the recommended amounts of the “bad fats” (saturated and trans fats). We’re not getting enough vitamins and nutrients through healthy foods. Soft drink consumption alone currently accounts for one- third of added sugar intake in the United States. Most Americans consume more than double the amount of their daily recommended level of sodium, which increases risk of higher blood pressure.

6 Causes of Obesity – Bigger Portions Americans are eating more. Portions have grown dramatically. People eat more when served bigger portions. Portion Size vs. Serving Size Portion size is the amount of a single food item served in a single eating occasion, such as a meal or a snack. For example, bagels or muffins are often sold in sizes that constitute at least two servings, but consumers often eat the whole thing, thinking that they have eaten one serving.

7 Causes of Obesity – Dining Out More Americans eat out more than ever before. The more people eat out, particularly at fast- food restaurants, the more calories, fat and sodium they tend to consume. Meals away from home contain fewer fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

8 Causes of Obesity – Lack of Physical Activity Adults and children are not getting enough physical activity – almost 1 in 4 children do not participate in free-time physical activity. Among adolescents ages 9-12, almost 30% of girls and 17% of boys reported that they had not engaged in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity in the past 7 days. 33% of adults reported engaging in no leisure time aerobic physical activity Fitness and physical activity habits established in childhood are key indicators for health in adulthood. Kids who are physically fit are much less likely to be obese or have high blood pressure in their 20s and early 30s.

9 Causes of Obesity – Increases in “Screen Time” & Marketing Unhealthy Foods to Kids Screen time directly contributes to cardiovascular risk. Most children get more than the recommended limit of 2 hours of screen time per day. Most ads targeted at children are for unhealthy products; almost no advertising dollars are spent marketing healthy products to children. Young people see more than 40,000 advertisements per year on television alone, and half (50 percent) of all ad time on children’s television shows is for food - Children ages 8–12 see over 50 hours of food advertising a year.

10 Causes of Obesity – Parents’ Perceptions and Roles Parents are important role models for their children. Parents may not recognize when children have a weight problem. Parents play a critical role in the lifestyle habits of their children both through the habits they model and through the support and awareness they offer. Causes of Obesity – Lack of Sleep Children need at least 9 hours of sleep per night. Sleep plays an important role in the body’s ability to grow, repair and stay well. Only 31% of high school students get eight or more hours of sleep on an average school night.

11 Causes of Obesity – School and Healthcare Settings 61% of competitive foods offered in high schools were fried and high in fat. These calorie-dense, nutrition-poor foods accounted for 83% percent of all food sold. Only 3.8% of elementary, 7.9% of middle and 2.1% of high schools provide daily physical education during the entire school-year. Normal weight children have higher scholastic achievement, less absenteeism and higher physical fitness levels than their obese counterparts. Healthcare providers are not consistently diagnosing weight problems in children. Healthcare providers may not feel equipped to talk about nutrition and physical activity with patients.

12 Consequences of Obesity Obesity negatively impacts EVERY organ system in the body. Obesity is now regarded as more damaging to the body than smoking or excessive drinking. 1 Some studies have shown that some obese teens with high triglyceride levels have arteries similar to 45-year-olds. Being overweight can negatively impact a child’s self esteem, behavior, friendships and academic performance. Overweight adolescents have a 70% chance of becoming overweight adults. This increases to 80% if 1 parent is overweight or obese. Children ages 7-13 who are overweight are at an increased risk for developing heart disease beginning at age 25. Obesity is more expensive to the healthcare system than smoking and problem drinking; the cost of treating obesity- related illnesses nearly doubled in the past decade. Over 10% of adult medical expenditures can be attributed to obesity. The total excess cost of adolescent overweight and obesity is an estimated $254 billion. 1 Colditz GA. Economic costs of obesity and inactivity. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999;31:S663–S667.

13 Out of Balance: Disparities Prevalence of obesity is rising fastest among African-American and Hispanic populations, making these groups especially at risk. Low-income families have a greater prevalence of overweight in some populations. Higher cost produce and other nutritious foods is cited as one barrier to healthy eating for low-income families. The highest regional prevalence of obesity is consistently in the South. Access to parks is a key factor that many impact physical activity levels; children who live near parks and green spaces are more physically active. Minority neighborhoods tend to have ½ as many supermarkets as white neighborhoods.

14 Obesity can be stopped. And it doesn’t take high-tech treatments or cutting-edge medications. Really, the solution begins and ends with the simple choices we make every day. The AHA is committed to fighting childhood obesity and has established an aggressive health impact goal for the year 2020: to improve the cardiovascular health of all Americans by 20% while reducing deaths from cardiovascular diseases and stroke by 20% by the year 2020. Find out how you can help your family live a stronger, healthier life at

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