The shockingly high number of overweight children in America continues to make headlines and many leaders, including First Lady Michelle Obama, are taking action.
Amy Jordan of the Media and Developing Child Sector at the Annenberg Public Policy Center has studied some of the root causes of childhood obesity and has recorded a podcast discussing what she says has been accurately described as an “epidemic” that if left untreated will shorten life spans, cause heart disease, diabetes and increased risks of cancer.
Jordan was the Special Editor of the January 2008 volume of The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, “Overweight and Obesity in America’s Children: Causes, Consequences, Solutions.”
“We need to think about the built environment, the context that children live and grow in,” Jordan says in the podcast. “Their playgrounds. The way their homes are laid out. Whether they have opportunities to walk to school or other kinds of places. We need to think about how they’re spending their leisure time. Are they more sedentary than they used to be? And the answer is yes. They’re using a lot more electronic media than they did 20 or 30 years ago.” The podcast was produced by The American Academy of Political and Social Science, which is housed at Penn.
The Centers for Disease Control says one-third of American children, about 9 million, are overweight. That’s three times higher than the number in 1980.
“We see that children who are overweight are at greater risk for developing endocrine problems, skeletal muscular problems. And we also see that children who are overweight are very likely to be overweight as adults. So upwards of 70% of children who are overweight become adults who are overweight,” Jordan says.
To learn more about Michelle Obama’s efforts to battle the epidemic of childhood obesity click here.
Originally published on April 19, 2010