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'Overweight and Obesity' in our children today not only impacts their health but can negatively impact their ability to pay attention, learn and achieve. Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are not only the root causes of overweight and obesity, they are also proven factors in low academic achievement. Recent research has confirmed that when children's basic nutritional and fitness needs are met, they attain higher achievement levels. Schools now must play a critical role in helping students learn and practice healthy eating habits by providing not only lifelong learning skills but also in providing the knowledge and motivation to be lifelong healthy and physical individuals.

The Costs of Obesity

  • Obesity-associated annual hospital costs for children have more than tripled from $35 million in 1981 to $127 million in 1999
  • Adolescents with no insurance or public insurance (Medicaid) are more likely than those covered by other insurance to become overweight
  • Inpatient diabetes cases in children's hospitals have increased approximately 12 percent between 2002 and 2004 with associated costs rising 10%

The Decline of Nutrition

  • Nearly one-third of US children between 4 19 eat fast food every day! Fast food consumption has increased fivefold among children since 1970

Facts & Predictions

  • By 2010 nearly half the children in North America will be overweight and 80% of these children will most likey be overweight as adults
  • Hispanics and African Americans are twice as likely to develop Type 2 Diabetes
  • Children born in the US in 2000, the lifetime risk of being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in their lives is 30% for boys and 40% for girls
  • Type 2 diabetes accounted for 8% to 45% of all new pediatric cases in the 90's as compared to less than 4% prior to 1990
  • Approximately 60% of obese children aged 5 to 10 years have at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor

Q: Why is it important to teach nutrition? There are so many other subjects to teach?

A: Nutrition is an important life skill - as important as reading or math. What your students eat or don't eat can affect their health, growth and ability to learn. We realize there's a lot to squeeze in, but nutrition education helps students learn a skill they will use the rest of their lives - making healthy food choices.

Q: Why is it important for kids to be physically active?

A: There are lots of reasons why children and young people need plenty of physical activity every day. Being active promotes healthy bones, muscles and joints, builds endurance and muscle strength, makes it easier to maintain a healthy weight and even makes you fell good about yourself. In addition, regular physical activity will massively increase your chances of a healthy life as an adult.

Q: Why is the prevalence of overweight among U.S. Children?

A: Results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey for 1999-2002 indicate that an estimated 16 percent of children and adolescents ages 6-19 years are overweight. For children, overweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the CDC growth charts for age and gender.



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