Childhood obesity continues to be a rising health problem. Some experts say it’s the biggest public health challenge of our time.
In the past 40 years, in the United States alone, child obesity rates have tripled; and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Contributing factors are complex and often oversimplified, yet studies show that poor nutrition, sugar-sweetened beverages, excessive screen time and inadequate physical activity are contributing to the problem.
How did this happen?
Thirty years ago, most children led lives that kept them at a healthy weight. Kids walked to and from school every day, ran around at recess, participated in gym class and played outside for hours after school.
Home-cooked meals with fruits, vegetables and reasonable portion sizes were the norm. Eating fast food was infrequent, and snacking between meals was an occasional treat.
Today, children experience a very different lifestyle.
Walking and biking to and from school have been replaced by car and bus rides. Gym class and after-school sports have been cut; afternoons are now spent with TV, video games and on the computer. Parents are busier than ever, and families eat fewer home-cooked meals together.
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