An uphill battle: Addressing childhood obesity

Since 2008, childhood obesity has topped the list of the annual NPCH survey of top children’s health concerns. In this year’s NPCH Top 10 Report, 60% of adults said childhood obesity is a big problem.

According to the 2015 State of Obesity Report from The Trust for America’s Health, about 5% of children are already severely obese by the ages of 6 to 11. One of the biggest topics for advocacy on addressing this issue is increasing activity in schools.

In April 2011, we asked parents about their views on physical activity in schools. Most parents (94%) thought it was very important for elementary school children to get physical activity during the school day. But one third of parents thought their kids did not get enough physical activity at school.

There are many groups and organizations working to address the rising obesity statistics. Let’s Move! America Schools encourages increased physical activity in schools with their slogan, “Active Kids Do Better.” They have over 15,000 schools enrolled in their program and serve almost 9.5 million students.

In Arizona, one biomedical engineering student is working on a new technology-based exercise platform that will work in conjunction with Fitbit trackers to encourage kids to be more active. “FitStart Kids” combines video games with exercises by giving kids incentives when they reach a goal. The program is an attempt at motivating kids towards healthier habits in ways that excite and interest them.

A 2012 NPCH Report found that 82% of parents knew of at least one school-based intervention aimed at preventing childhood obesity in their children’s schools. But some have questioned whether efforts to address childhood obesity may cause other issues. About one-third (30%) of parents of children age 6-14 reported seeing worrisome eating behaviors and physical activity in their children.

What do you think?
Does your child’s school participate in any intervention programs to prevent childhood obesity? Would a game-based program like “FitStart Kids” be beneficial for your child? Share your thoughts in the comments and on Facebook and Twitter @MottNPCH.