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Obesity has become of the nation’s leading public health problems, and now with nearly 1 in 5 U.S. kids being obese, researchers are disappointed that programs across the country haven’t been effective.
The latest data comes from surveys done in 2017 and 2018 by The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There were more than 2,800 children in the U.S. that participated.
The survey discovered that 19.3% of kids ages 2 to 19 were obese. Considering that the increase was slight from the 2015-2016 national survey, it wasn’t statistically significant.
Dr. Tannaz Moin, a UCLA obesity researcher said “We really were expecting and hoping to see the trends decrease.”
Poor diet remains at the forefront of causes for childhood obesity. A diet containing high levels of sugar or fat and very few nutrients will cause children to gain weight faster. A lot of children become obese because their parents don’t know how or unable to prepare healthy meals. There are also families who don’t have easy access to the proper fruits and vegetables needed for a balanced diet. A balanced diet for children should include fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains, meats, fish, and nuts.
If a child isn’t getting enough physical activity, they are also at risk for childhood obesity. Regular physical activity helps burn calories, and if children aren’t being encouraged to be active, they will become more vulnerable to obesity.
Researchers also found that the current Coronavirus pandemic isn’t helping the situation either.
“Kids for the most part are at home, and not at school with recess, and getting even less (physical) activity,” she said. “We may see worse trends in the coming years, especially if this pandemic continues the way it is.”
Childhood obesity remains a serious health threat to children. Children who suffer from obesity are also at risk for a number of chronic health conditions and this can follow them into adulthood. The consequences of childhood obesity in adulthood are cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal disorders, and even some cancers.