Sunday, May 18, 2008

Childhood Obesity Epidemic

Hats off to Susan Levine, Rob Stein and The Washington Post health staff for today's outstanding piece on childhood obesity. This is the first of a five part series that is overdue the attention it deserves.

As the articles point out, the fact that more and more children are obese is more than just a sign of the times, but rather has major implications on the fate of our entire country. A third of the children in the U.S> are overweight or obese. Currently, my colleagues in pediatrics are seeing diseases that I learned in medical school were only suppoed to be seen in adults: type 2 diabetes, arthritis, gallstones, etc. Unlike adults where the rate of obesity has doubled, it has trippled in children. There is also evidence that the effects of being overweight in childhood are much worse than adding the pounds later in life, likely due to cummulative effects over time. According to the article:

"The cumulative effect could be the country's first generation destined to have a shorter life span than its predecessor."
Please check out this excellent and informative collection. Check out the
10 Facts You Should Know , view the interactive How Obesity Harms A Child's Body , take the online quiz and view the video from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, the president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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