Weight of the Nation, Part 3

The third installment of the HBO Series Weight of the Nation focuses on children.

Many of the students in the Health Fitness Specialist degree program at Globe University want to work with children. They view it as a rewarding way to make a real difference in not only the lives of children, but also in the community as a whole. The personal trainer education provided at Globe University has two courses dedicated to youth fitness development. In these courses, students learn the principles of youth fitness, the psychology of sport and exercise, the importance of retention, and how to create well-rounded appropriate activities for children. It is evident from this documentary that youth fitness is important and necessary work that needs to be done.

Below are some of the facts and statistics presented in the HBO documentary that put things in perspective in terms of the childhood obesity epidemic. If you don’t have time to tune in, read on!

-Childhood obesity has tripled in one generation.

-Obese children are at risk for asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and diabetes. These
children will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

-This is not just about their physical appearance. There are significant metabolic
disturbances for these children.

-Side effects of obesity in childhood include chronic liver disease or heart disease when these children are in their 30s.

-WATCH stands for the Weight Assessment for Teen and Child Health. It is a research
and treatment center for obese children. A study recently demonstrated that
roughly 50% of obese teenage girls become severely obese by age 30.

-Dr. Robert Lustig is the director of WATCH at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital.  (Some will recognize his name from the wonderful You Tube lecture Sugar, The Bitter Truth.)

-There is a program called One Step Ahead that teaches youth and families about healthy lifestyles.

-Dr. Kelly Brownell, Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity calls
advertising geared toward children as “powerful, pernicious, and predatory.” About
1 ½ billion dollars is spent annually on marketing food products to children.

-Unfortunately, only 10% of parents get medical help for their obese children. According to a study conducted by the USDA, “94% of schools served meals that did not meet USDA standards for healthy school meals. 80% exceeded recommendations for fat and saturated fat.”

-Another study showed that “20% of the rise in the BMI of teens is associated with the increased availability of junk food in schools.”

-Soda, juice and energy drinks add a considerable amount of sugar to one’s diet. The neuromuscular system is significantly compromised when kids sit around and play video games or sit at the computer.

-According to Susan Combs, TX has the 6th highest rate of obesity in children.  If the
population continues, by 2025 private employers will incur an additional $30
billion a year in health care costs.

-Combs calls physical education one of the smartest investments we can make. What kind of society do we want and what kind of environment are we willing to provide for our children? She asserts that obesity had the capacity to crush the United States.

Stay tuned for part 4!