What is Childhood Obesity?

Nearly 20% of kids ages 6 to 19 are overweight. This is the first video in a four-part video series looking at the causes of childhood obesity, the health risks faced by overweight kids, and what we can do as parents and a society to teach healthy habits. In this video, we examine the societal shifts that have caused the childhood obesity epidemic, learn who is affected, and more.

Show Transcript

BAKER: My generation ushered in the whole obesity epidemic. We saw the fast food industry explode, the processed food industry explode. We saw gaming start to come on the scene.

DR: GALSON: The average number of hours that our kids are spending in front of a television or in front of a computer screen is six hours per day.

GINNY: Childhood obesity, in a nutshell, is an imbalance of calories in, calories out.

DR. THOELE: We are designed to be active. A lot of the obesity problem and a lot of the different health problems that people are having right now is because we are not doing what we are designed to do.

TERRY: Childhood obesity is a culmination of bad habits. Lack of exercise, too much TV time, portion distortion, and poor choices in our selection of food. 100 years ago, the types of food which we considered junk food didn't even exist.

DR: GALSON: Orthopedic surgeons are doing hip replacements and knee replacements on young people because of the excessive weight that they're carrying.

DR. THOELE: There are many children in my practice and in every pediatrician's practice who have type 2 diabetes.

TERRY: 15 years ago I may have had one or two kids that were considered overweight or obese. And now it's so problematic that people are immune to it.

BAKER: Think about what it's like for a modern young person in this country. They have grown up in an environment that discourages healthy, active lifestyle. For them to look out and see 65% of the US adult population overweight or obese, it is the norm.

GINNY: 92% of high school students do not receive daily physical education. Many schools are electing to eliminate recess in favor of more academic time.

BAKER: For your mind to work, you have to use your body correctly. And you can eat junk, but you can't think very well.

GINNY: Kids who are overweight or obese tend to report higher levels of depression, are bullied more at school, have a low self-esteem which creates a self-fulfilling prophecy in terms of not being physically active, not being social.

DR. GALSON: We got this way in over 30 years. It's going to take time before we're back to average weight that we had 30 years ago. But there are very encouraging signs that we can make a difference. I would get away from blame.
It's particularly important with our young people to free them from a guilt about this. Because it's not their fault.

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