The Debate About Childhood Obesity

childhood obesity

It’s no secret that our nation’s youth is getting fatter with each passing year. This topic has been given massive amounts of media attention and with good reason. Obesity in children is a huge concern, not only for parents, but for everyone.

As I have stated in a few of my other posts, there is so much conflicting advice about health, fitness, and nutrition that it’s hard to figure out what to believe. This article will look at childhood obesity from two different viewpoints. Both sources I will use are well known and reputable, but amazingly, offer two very different opinions about childhood obesity. Which are you going to believe? Again, it’s very difficult to determine the accuracy of the information we get and leaves us wondering what the truth really is..

My first source of information comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevetion (CDC). It states that:

  • Children aged 2-5 have a 10.4% obesity rate
  • Children aged 6-11 have a 19.6% obesity rate
  • Children aged 12-19 have a 18.1% obesity rate

These statistics are astounding and it’s obvious that what we are doing as parents and teachers is not enough to keep our children healthy. Obese children have a greater chance of having cardiovascular disease such as Type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. One study indicated that 80% of children who were overweight at ages 10-15 were obese at age 25. There are countless studies on the effects of being overweight or obese as children and it’s very clear that it’s a massive problem.  

The CDC clearly states that physical activity is one of the keys to controlling childhood obesity. The following link discusses the numerous health benefits of activity and the consequences of inactivity. I am a firm believer that children should be as active as possible. Given the fact that McDonald’s and Burger King are probably the most popular destinations for children and understandably so (it’s quick and easy and many parents fall into this trap), they need to be active to offset all the processed and fat laden foods they are taking in.

My second source of information comes from The Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry. According to an 11 year study of children, it was determined that inactivity has no relationship to childhood obesity. Their view is that the obesity leads to inactivity, not the other way around. The article, which can be read in its entirety here, goes on to state that physical activity has no impact on weight change in children. To me, this is about as idiotic as it comes, but their ‘science’ backs up their claims. Hmmmmm.

This is exactly what I’m talking about when I tell you that information is a cheap commodity.  Conflicting facts on a topic as serious as this make it all the more difficult to differentiate quality information from rubbish. The goal of this article (and my website) is to educate you and have you question what you read.

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