More than 23 million children and teenagers in the U.S. are obese or overweight, a statistic that health experts consider an epidemic. It’s such a critical issue that President Obama has proclaimed September, 2011 as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month.

This is what kids are up against:

  • Obesity increases the lifelong risk for type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, stroke, certain kinds of cancer, and many other debilitating diseases.
  • Researchers estimate that one out of every three males and two out of every five females born in the United States in the year 2000 will be diagnosed with diabetes.
  • More than 100,000 children ages 5 to 14 have asthma each year because of overweight and obesity.
  • If current adolescent obesity rates continue, researchers predict that by 2035 there will be more than 100,000 additional cases of heart disease linked to obesity.
  • Between 1999 and 2005, the number of children hospitalized with a diagnosis of obesity nearly doubled;  costs went up from $125.9 million to $237.6 million between 2001 and 2005.

Source: Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Prevent Childhood Obesity

I still believe we can reverse the obesity epidemic, although sometimes I don’t understand why it’s taking so long. Recent small steps like healthier options at restaurants give me a glimmer of hope.