In order to heighten the level of awareness regarding the problem, childhood obesity statistics have been released that are truly astounding. Between the ages of six and nineteen, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that sixteen percent of all children are obese or overweight. An additional fifteen percent of children within the same age range are at risk of becoming obese or overweight. In total, over thirty percent, or nearly a third, of all children either have or may develop excessive weight. This figure has tripled in the past thirty years and experts believe that it will continue to grow.
Childhood obesity causes have also increased in the past thirty years. The ever-increasing reduction of childhood exercise is one reason that obesity is in the rise. Only one state, Illinois, requires its schools to provide a minimum time amount of physical exercise per school day. Another is the increased consumption of unhealthy foods. One of the more interesting childhood obesity statistics is that an estimate one-third of children between the ages of four and nineteen ingest fast food products on a daily basis. This translates to an additional six pounds gained each year by each child that has this practice.
Childhood obesity statistics also point to the facts about the epidemic. The hospital costs that have arisen from obesity or overweight-related issues have grown from a total of $35 million from 1979-1981 to a huge sum of $127 million in the years 1997-1999. This sum represents a nearly fourfold increase in hospital costs. Childhood obesity facts such as this one are slowly making the public wake up to this problem.
The childhood obesity effects that are experienced in everyday life are also an issue. No obesity childhood statistics can measure the amount of social awkwardness or humiliation a child may experience from ridicule because of their weight. Coupled with the other health problems that may develop from being overweight make obesity in childhood an epidemic that needs a speedy solution.
In response to the problem, childhood obesity programs have been created to help lower childhood obesity statistics. These programs treat all aspects of a childs weight gain, including the necessary education for how to reduce the weight and prevent it from being a problem in the future. One example of these types of programs is Shapedown. Being family-based, this program speaks to the entire family and not only to the obese child. It was created at the University of California utilizing the expertise of doctors from many different specializations. The program addresses the underlying factors that led to the obesity in order to more effectively treat them. Cognitive therapy is used to change a childs attitude regarding eating habits and physical exercise. Also, the children are taught stress management methods that help them stop using food as a comfort for troubling times.