Information for Professionals Who Work with Children: Childhood Obesity
The proportion of children classified as overweight or obese is growing at an alarming rate in the United States and in Minnesota. Prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents in the United States quadrupled among 6-11 year-olds and more than tripled among 12-19 year-olds between 1971-74 and 1999-2002 according to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES).
This increasing rate of overweight and obesity threatens the health of our children and younger generations, placing them at much greater risk for future development and early onset of a wide variety of chronic diseases and health conditions. As children and youth continue to grow into overweight and obese adults, they are at greater risk for:
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Dyslipidemia (high total cholesterol, high triglycerides)
- Type 2 diabetes
- Coronary heart disease
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea and respiratory problems
- Cancers (endometrial, breast, and colon)
The overall financial burden of obesity in Minnesota, based on national estimates, was $1.3 billion in 2004. The financial burden of childhood obesity in Minnesota is difficult to estimate.However ties have been made between childhood obesity and future adult weight-related disease and healthcare costs. Trends show diagnosis of weight-related disease occurring at younger and younger ages, which will likely lead to increased healthcare and other costs over larger portions of the lifecycle.