Childhood Obesity Health Risks

Overweight and obesity have been increasing at alarming rates and research has linked these conditions to life-threatening health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and certain cancers. Among children, overweight and obesity increase the risk of diabetes, early development of chronic diseases, orthopedic problems, and depression. Obesity is a leading contributor to premature death, second only to tobacco. Because of rising obesity rates, this may be the first generation of children who live shorter lives than their parents. (more)

What you should do

  • Parents should help kids eat smart and move more. (more)
  • Child care facilities, restaurants, and schools should provide and promote healthy foods and nutritional information.
  • Community planners and leaders should
    • support access to fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers' markets
    • promote land uses that encourage walking, bicycling,
    • support municipal recreational programs.
  • Community organizations should support We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition)

What We Are Doing

Our Initiative for a Healthy Weight has worked collaboratively to develop an Action Plan: 2010 - 2015 to combat obesity in the state. Several objectives are of particular significance for children, including:

  • Working to ensure that childcare facilities provide healthy food.
  • Identifying best practices for obesity prevention and management to integrate into an enhanced pediatric primary care practice.
  • Working to ensure that health care providers combatting obesity are reimbursed by insurance companies.
  • Raising the bar on physical education in schools.
  • Ensuring that all foods and beverages provided at schools are healthy.
  • Promoting Safe Routes to Schools to encourage exercise on the way to and from school.
  • Providing healthier food choices and nutritional education to WIC participants.
  • (more)