Childhood Obesity: A Growing Concern

January 13, 2016

A National Survey of Children’s Health reports that 14.8 percent of American kids between 10 and 17 are overweight. And more than two-thirds of Americans agree that children get too little exercise.

Obesity in our children is and should be a concern for all. Today, obesity is causing health problems in our children typically not seen until adulthood, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. They are also at a greater risk for bone and joint problems.

Obesity Facts (Centers for Disease Control)

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents in the past 30 years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6-11 years in the US who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2012; the percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years who were obese increased from 5% to nearly 21% over the same period.
  • In 2012 more than one-third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.

Get Kids Active

Getting kids active is one of the best methods of prevention. Where can they be active? Just about anywhere – at school, the park, daycare, church and many other places.

According to the CDC, our schools play a critical role with policies and practices that support healthy behaviors. They provide opportunities for students to learn about and practice healthy physical activity behaviors.

In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that all children age 2 and older should participate in at least 60 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activities that are developmentally appropriate and varied every day.

Playground Design Impacts Activity Levels

Kids need a variety of activities and challenges when playing on a playground – aerobic activity plus muscular strength and endurance activities.

Today, we are seeing more playgrounds that are starting to incorporate the seven elements of play: swinging, sliding, spinning, balancing, climbing, brachiating and sensory. These activities are critical in helping kids improve their core strength and balance for fundamental motor skills.

One play equipment manufacturer, Burke Playgrounds, created a new Intensity fitness play complex specifically designed to promote fitness and help fight childhood diabetes by including a curriculum packet for physical education teachers, recreational specialists and others who help kids develop their bodies. Students can learn a skill in PE then use it on the playground during recess.

Intensity Curriculum
from BCI Burke Company on Vimeo.

We want to help kids understand the benefits of being physically active.

Overweight is defined as having excess body weight for a particular height from fat, muscle, bone, water or a combination of these factors. Obesity is defined as having excess body fat.

When kids are physically active, they:

  • Strengthen bones
  • Decrease blood pressure
  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Help manage their weight

While a child who is overweight or obese may look perfectly healthy, in reality, they may not be. Our goal is to help communicate this message.

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