Did You Know…

23 03 2011

Did you know…

  • The average kid is physically active for less than 20 minutes a day
  • The average 10-year-old girl weighed 77 pounds in 1963; today, 88. The 10-year-old boy weighed 74; today, 85.
  • Even more than smoking or drinking, obesity triggers significant health problems and pushes up the cost of health spending.
  • Children and teens on average consume 110 to 165 more calories than they burn each day over a 10-year period-adding up to 58 pounds of extra weight
  • Only 2 percent of U.S. children eat a healthy diet (as defined by the food pyramid)
  • “Husky” car seats were developed several years ago. In 2006, more than 250,00 children under 6 exceeded the weight standards for regular seats.
  • 33% of children under 6 years of age and 65% of all children have a TV in their bedroom
  • Soft-drink consumption has increased 300 percent in 20 years, and is the leading source of added sugars for adolescents.
  • One-fourth of all vegetables eaten in the U.S. are french fries or chips and even worse, by 15-18 MONTHS, French fries are the most common vegetable consumed.
  • One-fourth of all Americans eat fast food at least once a day
  • Children and youth spend at least 6 hours a day watching TV, sitting at the computer, or playing video games
  • We consume 20 percent more calories than a generation ago; most comes from fats and oils (up 63 percent), grains (up 43 percent), sugar (up 19 percent).
  • The current generation of children is the first in history not expected to outlive their parents.

Growing Obesity rates in children: Source

My (Chloe) interest in children’s health, specifically childhood obesity stemmed from my love of children, my hyperactivity and love of being outdoors and active and my fortunate upbringing in a family that supported healthy eating. It was not until I was in college that I put these three interests together and began to pursue a career focused on increasing opportunities for kids to grow up healthy (aka eat unprocessed/real/GOOD food and run around). The topic of childhood obesity deserves more than one post, so I plan to address the issue in future posts as well (please let me know if there is a questions/topic that you would like me to write about!), but I wanted to get the conversation started! Unless you have been living under a rock, you know it’s an issue. Our country is facing an obesity epidemic, and our nation’s children are not excluded from the problem. In fact, if we do not address the problem, one in every three kids born today will be diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes and even further, the current generation of children today will not outlive their parents due to health complications associated with obesity.

There are TONS of childhood obesity initiatives going on around the country! Some of them are GREAT BIG PROJECTS that will impact the entire country, such as First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Campaign

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative, launched by the First Lady, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation, so that children born today will grow up healthier and able to pursue their dreams. The Let’sMove! website is a great resource for those interested in getting involved.  Her aim is to

  1. Create a healthy start for young children birth-5;
  2. Empower parents and caregivers to support healthy eating and physical activity habits;
  3. Make sure that healthy food is served in schools;
  4. Improve access to healthy, affordable foods in neighborhoods and communities around the country; and
  5. Get people moving! though various opportunities for physical activity.

I have had the opportunity to work on a number of smaller (but VERY effective) initiatives that impact the health of children.  

Shape Up Somerville is a city wide campaign in Boston to increase daily physical activity and healthy eating through community programming, opportunities to increase physical activity and improvements on policies that help eat healthier and stay active.  The campaign targets all parts of a community, including schools, city government, civic organizations, community groups, businesses, and other people who live, work, and play in Somerville.

521Almost None is a public health campaign started by Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware. Nemours developed a “formula” for a healthy lifestyle that is intended to help children and families understand the causes and health implications of obesity and the best ways to promote healthy. The 521-Almost None Formula:

  • Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day;
  • Limit screen time (tv, computer, video games, etc) to no more than two hours a day;
  • Get at least one hour of physical activity a day; and
  • Drink almost no sugary beverages.

Like I said earlier, unless you have been living under a rock, you know the problem exists and you know that many companies, organizations and business are getting on board to try and lend a hand. A day does not go by that you do not see/hear a clip in a magazine, newspaper, radio show, billboard and now EVEN a fast food commercial! advocating (or trying? ahem ahem fast food chains) for healthier options.


Apples replacing fries?? They’re working on it….

Last week, the Washington Post hosted a 1 day conference titled Weighing in on America’s Future: Childhood Obesity Summit. Leaders in nutrition, physical activity, education, business and the culinary arts were brought together to discuss innovative ways to address the childhood obesity epidemic. Panel discussions included The Role of Government, Health Implications of Childhood Obesity and the Roles of Schools and Community. As childhood obesity is an epidemic that impacts all races, religions, ages, sexes, etc.  and is impacted by all environments where children spend time, including home, child care, school, community centers, sports teams, etc. the invited speakers came from all over the board. Some of the highlights (for me) included:

Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens…


Sam Cass, executive Chef at the White House and Carla Hall, “Top Chef All Star” competitor…


Dominique Dawes, the first African American gymnast to win a medal at the Olympics. She now is the co-chair of the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition. Next to her sat Senators Tom Harkin and Mark Udall…


There were tons of other hot shots at the summit, but one of the highlights for me, were the kids.


The Post had put out a request for kids to come up with innovative ways to help address the childhood obesity epidemic. Out of hundreds of essays written, 6 children (ranging in age from 4-12!) were chosen to attend the summit and stand next to Greg Jennings from the Green Bay Packers (on left in picture) and read their essays, which ranged in topic from having “circus class” in school to requiring that all kids have to eat their fruits and veggies first when starting a meal. The first boy in line started his essay “when I was a little boy…” These kids were adoooorable.

And wait…it gets even better!


The lunch at the Summit was prepared by Sam Cass and Carla Hall AND the amount spent on each person was a mere $2.32, the amount of reimbursement that schools receive from the government for school lunch. We started our meal with a romaine,  carrots and tomatoes salad, had a delicious chicken pot pie as our main dish (so good I asked for the recipe!) and finished off the meal with a poached pair topped with granola for dessert! Pretty amazing. I am so fortunate to be able to attend these types of events. (A few months ago I went to a special Sesame Street Event where I got to meet Elmo!)

Childhood obesity is not something that is going to go away on its own. It takes all members of a community to support healthy eating and active living…from young kids to parents to small business’ to policy makers. I have no idea where my career will take me, but what I do know, is that wherever I am, whatever I am doing…I will be supporting this important initiative.

Question of the Day: What is something (either work or non work related) that you feel extremely passionate about???