- Lauren Dungy
- Shaunti Feldhahn
- Tim and Darcy Kimmel
- Betsy Landers
- Dr. Walt Larimore
- Mark Merrill
- Joanne Miller
- Dr. Gary J. Oliver
- Kathy Peel
- Dr. Greg Smalley
- Dr. Scott Turansky
- Jill Savage
Articles by Dr. Walt Larimore
- Your Child Needs a Well-Child Checkup
- You Are the Key to Your Teen’s Well-Being
- Why Energy Drinks Are Bad for Your Teeth
- Why Bottled Water is Bad for Your Teeth
- Why Baby Media Does Not Advance Learning
- Whooping Cough Epidemic
- What Is the Genetic Link With ADHD?
- What Is My ADHD Child Feeling?
- What about Adopted Children?
- Weight Loss That Works…and Keeps Working
- The Ten Commitments of Great Parents
- The Teen Years--Ready, Set, Go
- The Parental Team--It Takes Two
- The One Thing Your Kids Need to Avoid for A Good Night’s Sleep
- The Different Layers of Health Care
- The Death-Defying Power of Healthy Marriage
- The Crucial Importance of R.E.S.T.
- The Attributes of Great Parents
- The ADHD Child
- The ABCD's of Parenting Teens
- The 12 Ways of Hands-On Parents
- Television and Childhood Obesity
- Superfoods for Women
- Summer – Fun, Food, Fellowship, and Fat?
- Study shows no link between increased cell phone use and brain cancer incidence
- Small Changes Bring Big Results
- Showing Gratitude for Partner's Generosity
- Quality Time or Quantity Time?
- Postpartum Depression
- Poll Shows Sex within Marriage is More Fulfilling
- Obesity: Television, Video Games and Your Children’s Health
- Obesity: Soft Drinks Effect Health
- Obesity: It’s a Killer Epidemic
- Obesity: Children and Fast Food
- Loud Music and Teenage Hearing Loss
- Learn as much about ADHD as you can
- Is Chocolate the Next Super Food?
- Is ADHD Different in Boys and Girls?
- Is ADHD Associated With Risk-Taking Behaviors?
- How to Change These Four Bad Habits
- How to be Happier and More Satisfied
- How Common Is ADHD?
- Hepatitis C and Tattoos
- Healthy Holidays
- Hands-on Parenting: How it Works
- Good Relationship with Dad Can Help Fight Stress
- Fast food and your family
- Explore Treatment Options
- Dr. Larimore’s 11 Tips for Weight Loss Success
- Disciplining Older Kids
Dr. Walt LarimoreWalt Larimore, M.D. has been called “one of America’s best known family physicians.” He is a nationally-known and nationally sought after speaker and health expert. read bio
Obesity: It’s a Killer Epidemic
Too many of our kids are fat and getting fatter. In some areas of the country up to 40 percent of the children are obese or extremely overweight. "We have an epidemic of obesity in the United States and it's only getting worse," said U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. "We are seeing Generation Y grow into Generation XL, and this weight gain has long-term health consequences. "
A report issued in October 2002 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) declared that more than 15 percent of American children aged six to nineteen were overweight--a whopping 200 percent increase over the previous three decades. Dr. Gerald Hass, physician in chief at the South End Community Health Center in Boston says that the problem is relatively new and rapidly worsening. "Thirty-three years ago, when I began treating the children of the South End and Lower Roxbury, I was not confronted with 300-pound fourteen-year-olds. We worried about chicken pox and measles in children, but not Type II diabetes in teens. Now a shocking 40 percent of our 8,000 pediatric patients at the South End Community Health Center are clinically obese. On a recent Friday, 75 percent of the children I saw were obese."
Even in sunny, supposedly health-conscious California, nearly 40 percent of children are considered physically unfit, while more than 25 percent are overweight, according to a report by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy. And still, our children get bigger. One report found that 10 percent of U.S. children two through five years old are already overweight. By age ten many of these children will have become obese with early symptoms of diabetes. In one study almost 40 percent of children were considered obese before the age of six; children as young as four had abnormally high insulin levels (a risk factor for diabetes); and 13 percent of children showed high cholesterol levels.
"This is tragic," said Dr. Julie Gerberding, director of the federal CDC. "Obesity has got to be job No. 1 for us in terms of chronic diseases."
Unfortunately, an obese child tends to become an obese adult--and that makes for significant trouble. Recent research suggests that obese teenagers have a dramatically increased risk of dying by the time they reach middle age. One study found that overweight teenagers had a mortality rate thirty to forty times higher than teens of normal weight. And can you guess the average age of death for adults who were obese as adolescents? Not sixty. Not fifty-five. Not even fifty. Children in the study who were obese as teens died as adults at the average age of forty-six.
Hass reacts to this gathering storm by urging immediate action on a number of fronts. He sharply challenges those who "say that 'personal responsibility' should drive better health behavior…That is a hard argument to make in the face of a depressed, obese child whose health is failing, who has no safe place to exercise and is under siege by adults selling him salt, fat, sugar, and a shorter, sadder life. As adults, we have an obligation to do better."
If you are concerned for your child's physical health, you can effect change by engaging your child in healthy activity and by providing healthy foods at home. By spending time with your child taking walks, riding bikes, rollerblading, swimming, sledding, doing chores such as raking leaves and mowing the lawn, you can improve the health of your child.
Then take some time to evaluate the nutritional quality of the food you provide at home and if necessary, make adjustments to your weekly grocery list. At first, you will most likely receive resistance to healthy changes, but persevere. Your goal is to develop healthy habits for life and this will take time.
Taken with permission from the book, SuperSized Kids: How to Rescue Your Child from the Obesity Threat by Walt Larrimore, MD; Sherri Flynt, MPH, RD, LD with Steve Halliday, (Center Street).
Medical information within this site is not intended for use in the diagnosis or treatment of any health condition. Please consult a licensed health care professional for the treatment or diagnosis of any medical condition.
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