The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control suggests that childhood obesity is still on the rise, despite massive efforts at the federal level to keep it in check. For many in the public health sector, it’s a wake-up call: if we don’t do something about this problem now, it will saddle future generations with massive healthcare costs they can’t afford.
Part of the solution is to understand what is creating the problem in the first place. Childhood obesity rates were low before then 1980s, but once the Reagan decade got underway, it was clear that we had a problem. Children were getting bigger and bigger.
Experts now believe that several factors are to blame. The first is the increase in sedentary lifestyles. Children are now much more likely to spend their evenings in front of screens than they are to make fun in the outdoors.
The second and perhaps more important factor is the type of food that children consume today. Diets in the past were mostly meat and vegetables, with a bit of dairy thrown in for good measure. It wasn’t perfect, but it was undoubtedly an improvement on what kids are eating today. Now, their diets are chock full of refined sugars and carbohydrates in addition to meat and fat. It’s a deadline combination of nutrients that appears to predispose people to obesity and rapid weight gain.
Are you worried about the childhood obesity epidemic? Please take a look at the following infographic to learn what’s causing it and how to stop it.
Infographic by University of Nevada-Reno