Parents should take obesity study seriously

Posted: Thursday, May 09, 2002

An alarming new study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a sharp increase in the number of children diagnosed with obesity-related illnesses, including diseases doctors once saw almost exclusively in overweight adults.

The results of this study should shock every parent. And it should be the catalyst for making sure that children receive the proper amount of exercise and a balanced diet.

Obesity rates among children and adolescents have nearly doubled in the last two decades. Too many high-calorie foods and too much computer and TV time.

We have become a fast-food, fast-paced, super-size everything society, and now our children are paying the price. And, increasingly, so is society in the form of increased health care costs associated with treating diseases that used to show up in adults.

The 20-year study of more than 70,000 young people found that the rates of hospital-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes in children nearly doubled. The disease was thought to only affect older adults, but is now found in more than 1 in 50 hospital discharges. And that's not all. The rates of gallbladder disease in children tripled, and sleep apnea increased fivefold. ...

Parents should monitor their children's eating habits and television viewing. Stuffing a child with fast food and setting him in front of the TV is not good parenting. It's irresponsible in the extreme.

Society would be outraged if a parent let a child have a beer with dinner. It should be just as vexed over parents who sit by while their children become obese.

-- The Buffalo (N.Y.) News

May 8

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