During the past four decades, obesity rates have soared among all age groups, increasing more than fourfold among children ages six to 11. More than 23 million children and teenagers (31.8 percent) ages two to 19 are obese or overweight, a statistic that health and medical experts consider an epidemic.
The growing rate of childhood obesity in our country is alarming. Supporters of National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the health care providers at Syracuse Community Health Center recognize the serious threat obesity poses to the health of our children and the importance of decreasing its prevalence not only in Syracuse and Central New York, but across the entire United States.
Obese young people have an 80-percent chance of becoming obese adults and are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults. As a result, they are more at risk for associated adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke and several types of cancer and osteoarthritis.
The financial implications add up to a sobering $14 billion per year in direct health care costs alone, according to the American College of Sports Medicine. Americans spend approximately nine percent of their total medical costs on obesity-related illnesses. Additionally, there are psychosocial consequences that can hinder academic and social functioning and persist into adulthood.
These severe consequences underscore the critical importance of children and teens to participate in physical activity and to engage in healthy eating habits. The good news is childhood obesity is entirely preventable. It’s up to all of us to encourage healthy habits. This message is brought to you by Syracuse Community Health Center, your Health Care Home of Choice. Make an appointment today with our Pediatrics Department today to learn more about childhood obesity prevention at 315-476-7921.