The prevalence of obesity continues to climb for black and Native American girls, according to a study that examined the health records of more than 8 million fifth-, seventh-, and ninth-grade students in California from 2001 through 2008.
The study appears in the September issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Obesity rates for most boys and non-Hispanic white girls peaked in 2005 and then declined. Because that is not the case for black and Native American girls, the authors recommend that this knowledge be used to guide interventions and policies specific to these groups, in order to reduce their risk. Learn about the AAP’s recommendations for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity.
Most recent statistics from the Centers for Disease Control rank 24.8 percent of Californians as “obese.” Arizonans fare worse; 25.5 percent of our state’s population is obese. So you have to wonder what the results of this recent study would be if it had been conducted here.
Several local organizations are working hard to combat the epidemic of childhood obesity, which affects self-esteem and well-being in the short term but wreaks devastating effects on physical and emotional health in the long term. The most recent program we have learned about is the YMCA’s Food and Fun Curriculum.
The curriculum, developed by the Prevention Research Center at the Harvard School of Public Health and other YMCAs, is a nutrition and physical activity curriculum designed to encourage children and their families to develop healthy eating habits and the desire to lead active lives. This 10-week, easy-to-understand curriculum provides a wealth of activities, recipes, menus, targeted messages, parent communication tools and many other resources to reinforce healthy habits.
“The childhood obesity epidemic in America is a national health crisis,” says Jen Hewitt, Childcare Resource Director for the Valley of the Sun YMCA. “One in every three children (31.7 percent) ages 2 to 19 is overweight or obese. The life-threatening consequences of this epidemic create a compelling and critical call for action that cannot be ignored. The YMCA has an obligation to the community to be at the forefront of tackling the problem.”
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critical to combatting chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer and diabetes — the leading causes of death in the United States. While such diseases are prevalent and costly, they are also often preventable through eating healthy and physical activity.
For more information about the YMCA program, call 602-212-5121 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.