NOTE: The following is an excerpt from TeleVox’s Healthy World report, “The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Poor Health Habits Threaten the Future of America’s Youth”, which exposes the need for more interaction between doctors and parents to combat childhood obesity. Download it HERE!
There was a time when obesity in children was rare. It was more common to see a child being pried away from outdoor pick-up activities to eat dinner than from a video game. And the Midwest is no exception when looking specifically at the health effects and increase in childhood obesity because of changes in lifestyles and habits among children. As reported by the Center for Disease Control, nearly every state in the Midwest has obesity rates between 10-14 percent for school-aged children.
Something has to be done to control this disease, which is quickly becoming an epidemic. According to The Childhood Obesity Epidemic: Poor Health Habits Threaten the Future of America’s Youth, 66 percent of Midwesterners believe that childhood obesity is a significant problem in the U.S. In the same breath, 43 percent of Midwesterners said they could do a better job of providing healthy food options for their children and 37 percent said they could do a better job of encouraging their children to exercise.
The fact that parents are showing a desire to encourage better eating and exercise habits is a step in the right direction. In fact, The Childhood Obesity Epidemic reports that 92 percent of Midwesterners — higher than any other region — believe that poor diet and exercise habits, and not genetics, are the biggest causes of childhood obesity. By taking steps to provide healthier food options and encouraging more of an active lifestyle, Americans can help combat childhood obesity.
Luckily, the Midwest is taking steps to fight childhood obesity. According to The Council of State Governments, new state laws have been enacted to combat this growing problem at the school level. Every state in the Midwest requires health education in elementary schools, thanks to comprehensive laws enacted first by Minnesota and Ohio. Additionally, Illinois, Indiana, North Dakota and Ohio require physical activity and recess. Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska also reduce access to unhealthy foods (such as vending machines). These simple steps, which are now government-mandated, are helping to reduce obesity rates in the Midwest.
And as The Childhood Obesity Epidemic reported, Midwesterners lead all regions with 50 percent saying that text messages with personalized tips from doctors between visits could help manage children’s weight. In addition, the region also leads the U.S. with 45 percent of Midwesterners saying that the lack of education for children about healthy eating choices is a significant problem. Education from healthcare providers, including feedback and tips sent between visits, can provide an advantage to Americans working to combat this disease.