Valuing America's children: Breaking free from childhood obesity

Over the next three decades, the epidemic of childhood obesity will severely take its toll on this country. Photo: AP Photo / AP

SAN DIEGO, August 6, 2013 — As the youth of today become America’s adults of tomorrow over the next three decades, the epidemic of childhood obesity will severely take its toll in health expenditures, productivity, and physical and mental disability.

The American Heart Association estimates that one in three children and adolescents are overweight or obese.


SEE RELATED: Reshaping America by embracing the truth about obesity


According to the United States Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2010, there were approximately 74.1 children in the United States, with an anticipated increase to 80.3 million children by the year 2030.

In testimony presented before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Competition, Infrastructure, and Foreign Commerce, Science, and Transportation, former United States Surgeon General Richard Camboa gave a prophetic speech, “The Growing Epidemic of Childhood Obesity.”

“Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will be less healthy and have shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

AP Photo, file

It is estimated that childhood obesity accounts for $14 billion dollars in annual United States Health Care Expenditures.

The Mayo Clinic describes many of the physical, social, and emotional complications of childhood obesity:

Physical

-Type 2 Diabetes

-Metabolic syndrome

-High cholesterol and blood pressure

-Asthma and breathing problems

-Sleep disorders

-Early puberty or menstruation

 

Social and Emotional

-Low self-esteem and bullying

-Behavior and learning problems

-Depression

Increased awareness of the dire consequences of childhood obesity, and the knowledge that children who are obese will likely also be obese in adulthood provides an opportunity for change. 

There are a variety of excellent resources available to help an obese child or a parent struggling with this problem. ChildhoodObesityinAmerica.com offers “Fun Tips,” providing invaluable suggestions for your family, your school, and other organizations of which you are a member. They include suggestions for indoor activities, outdoor activities, water activities, fun nutrition, and video games—all designed to engage children in becoming healthier, all the while having a great time. The suggestions offered are easy to follow, very affordable, and accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles and environments.

To test your own knowledge about childhood obesity, and help yourself be of more assistance to obese children you know, take the free “Childhood Obesity Quiz,” on About.com Pediatrics, Weight Calculator Resources.

Children are the future of America, and this phenomenon was insightfully expressed by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

“We are not able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.”

Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities” columnist since 2011, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.

In addition to writing for “Communities,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.

Copyright © 2013 by At Your Home Familycare


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Laurie Edwards-Tate

Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, President and Founder of At Your Home Familycare in San Diego, California, was among the first to recognize the growing need for services allowing individuals to remain independent created by the aging of America including the Baby Boomer generation, now being called the “Silver Tsunami.” It is the Baby Boomers who are rapidly redefining what aging and growing older means and looks like in America today.

Now celebrating its 28th year in business, AYHF is among San Diego County’s Top  Women-Owned Businesses and Fastest Growing Businesses, and enjoys a reputation for upholding the highest possible standards among its employees and its emphasis on customer service.  Edwards-Tate is a valued contributor to the public dialogue on current issues and challenges in the home care industry, and serves in leadership roles on the Home Care Aide Association of America Advisory Board and Private Duty Home Care Association Advisory Board, as well as the Home Care Aide Steering Committee of the California Association for Health Services at Home.

Edwards-Tate is frequently interviewed in the media on healthy aging, caregiving, and health care topics. 

 Follow Laurie and AYHF  at www.atyourhomefamilycare.com; on Facebook at www.facebook.com/atyourhomefamilycare, and Twitter at @AYHFamilycare

Contact Laurie Edwards-Tate

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