When it comes to childhood obesity, the numbers tell all. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents. Childhood obesity has both short-term and long-term effects on both mental and physical health.
Children who are obese are at high risk for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure, prediabetes, bone and joint problems, sleep apnea, and social and psychological problems. The long-term health effects include adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and different types of cancer. In order to prevent obesity from affecting a child’s life down the line, healthy lifestyle habits must be carried out early on. Everything from families, to communities and schools have an influence on the dietary and physical activity behaviors of children. We spoke with Kristi King, MPH, RDN, LDN, CNSN, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics about why you should care about childhood obesity.