September has been proclaimed national Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, with President Obama asking Americans to “take action by learning about and engaging in activities that promote healthy eating and greater physical activity by all our nation’s children.”
The U.S. childhood obesity rate has tripled since the 1970s, with 1 in 3 American children now either overweight or obese. As such, experts say one third of “children born in 2000 will develop Type 2 diabetes during their lifetime, with many others at risk of obesity-related illnesses including heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma,” reports Julian Pecquet of congressional newspaper The Hill.
Childhood obesity is especially prevalent in Kentucky. The state has the the seventh highest obesity rate nationwide and the fourth highest rate of childhood obesity. Reporters can find by-county obesity rates by clicking here, but by-county childhood obesity rates are not available because counties are collecting data in different ways and at different ages, Sarah Walsh of the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky said recently.
While the problem is a big one, there are initiatives underway to tackle it, including first lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move,” which helps communities make healthy food and exercise choices. It also includes a partnership with grocery stores to increase food choices in areas that do not have easy access to healthy foods. (Read more)