This September, we’ve seen a lot of initiatives to improve school lunches as back-to-school coincides with National Childhood Obesity Awareness month. Jillian Michaels urged Congress to pass a bill to improve school lunches, The Great American Salad Bar Project was launched by Ann Cooper and Michelle Obama continues to promote her Let’s Move! campaign.
While all these initiatives are exciting, they are also a reminder of how far America has to go before it can consider its population healthy and fit. As the chart by Paul Kendrosky below illustrates, the U.S. is the most overweight nation in the world. Just under 70 percent of our population is overweight. We’re followed by England and Spain. If this trend prediction is correct, 75 percent of Americans will be overweight within ten years.
“Obesity is one of the biggest public health challenges that the public has ever faced.” – Jeffrey Levi, Executive Director of the Trust for America’s Health
We’ve all heard that childhood obesity is on the rise. The figures support the claim, with more than one in three children classified as overweight or obese. In the past forty years, obesity rates in the United States have soared among all age groups, with the highest percentage of growth among those ages 6 to 11. President Obama recently declared September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, in conjunction with his wife Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” initiative. From his proclamation, “Each year, nearly $150 billion are spent to treat obesity-related medical conditions. This is not the future to which we want to consign our children, and it is a burden our health care system cannot bear.”
So what can we, as parents, do to help our children? (more…)