Every child deserves the best start in life. Teaching kids healthy habits from the start will help them learn to make healthy choices as they grow older.
Weight management and the increase in obesity are health concerns for children and youth in the United States. There are many reasons that contribute to the increase in overweight and obesity which make it a difficult subject to address. Behavior, environment, genetics, and access to health care are all factors that play a role in one's weight and general health outcomes. The ability to make healthy choices and lead a healthy lifestyle greatly decreases a person's risk of developing chronic disease.
- One in five children is overweight or obese by age 6
- Three times more children are obese today than just 30 years ago
- Among preschoolers aged 2 to 5 years specifically, obesity rates have doubled over the past four decades
- A 2008-09 school year BMI assessment of Idaho students in all odd grades 1 through 11 found that overall, 30.5 percent of Idaho school children sampled were classified as overweight or obese. The study found that significantly more boys were obese than girls.
- Based on results of the 2011/12 Idaho 3rd Grade BMI Assessment and the 2011 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, there are an estimated 6,200 (29 percent) overweight or obese 3rd grade students and 17,700 (23 percent) overweight or obese high school students (grades 9 through 12) in Idaho.
With the rise in childhood overweight and obesity, there has also been a rise in children diagnosed with conditions that were traditionally seen in adults, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and early signs of heart disease. Due to the prevalence of chronic conditions often associated with obesity and the rising trend of obesity in children and youth, today's generation of children will likely live shorter lives than their parents.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the following obesity-related conditions are the most prevalent, costly, and avoidable:
- Heart disease
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
Other health problems suffered by overweight individuals (more than those who maintain normal weight) include:
- High blood pressure and high cholesterol
- Impaired glucose tolerance, insulin resistance, and Type 2 diabetes
- Liver and gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea, asthma, and other respiratory problems
- Osteoarthritis and other musculoskeletal problems
- Gynecological problems (abnormal menses, infertility)
- Social and psychological problems
See the Diseases & Conditions section for more information on symptoms and prevention.