Child Obesity Epidemic

The epidemic of obesity in children is advancing much more quickly than the CDC and others predicted. The largest assessment ever of public school students indicates 40 percent of students in Arkansas are overweight or at risk of becoming so. Currently, the U.S. government estimates that 30 percent of the nation's kids are overweight or on their way to being too heavy.

Children who weigh too much are at a greater risk of becoming heavy adults, are more likely to have low self-esteem and have a greater chance of developing health complications such as diabetes, high blood pressure and bone and joint problems. Dr. Ben Lerner and I will be writting a book later this year about this problem and hope to offer some very specific practical guidelines that should have a major impact on this epidemic.

Until the book comes out I have three powerful recommendations to any children you have:

TV is one of the most pernicious influences and I couldn't recommend stopping it more strongly. Not only will it decrease their activity level, but it will expose them to commercials promoting worthless foods. Interestingly, cutting out the TV will also decrease their risk of going into debt.

USA Today June 4, 2004

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