Childhood Obesity Epidemic in Texas
When Corpus Christi, Texas made number one in “The Fattest Cities in the U.S.” people in this Coastal Bend town were shocked and embarrassed! Resident Michael Richter states, “I knew we would rank high, we also have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates, and teen moms statistically have children who are likely to suffer from neglect, nutritionally and otherwise.” He supports his statement with the Texas Dept. of State Health Services page on teen pregnancy
1. This may be one of many contributing factors to obesity in this city. In all, five cities in the Lone Star State made the top ten list, which also includes one of the highest per capita of diabetics in the U.S. The ratings were calculated by combining percentages of people who are overweight and have Type 2 diabetes, among other things.
2. Parents and family members who are overweight themselves often have portion control issues, as well as a diet that has a high fat content, is made up primarily of fast food, with little or no exercise incorporated into their daily lives.
These all add up to a recipe for disaster for the obese child. Children who have issues with obesity during their formative years are at risk for a myriad of health problems, including joint pain, gall stones, sleep apnea, asthma, high blood pressure, and chronic inflammation that damages blood vessels.
3. This is tragic and something must be done for these children who may reach adulthood with a host of illnesses that are, in most cases, preventable by proper nutrition and exercise.
4. Blame has been cast on everything from unhealthy school lunch menus to sugary breakfast foods and snacks that contain high concentrations of starches and sugars. Thanks to Michelle Obama’s “Lets Move” campaign, this problem has come to the forefront and changes are being implemented; lunch menus are being revamped, parents are re-thinking meals at home, and the Ad Council introduced their “Get up and Play” Campaign to encourage children, through many different forms of media, to participate in activities they enjoy and to increase their awareness of the importance of playing an hour a day, and how much fun it can be.
5. There is an interactive website families can enjoy at http://www.SmallStep.gov. This gives them ideas on getting active and eating healthier. Take time to join in an activity that helps your child burn calories, encourages them to get fit and to adopt healthy eating habits. It takes some small sacrifice on all of our parts, but it is so worthwhile in the end.