Sobering Stats on Childhood Obesity

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As Publisher Laura Klein reveals in Organic Food Fights Childhood Obesity, parents play a pivotal role in their children’s nutritional future.

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Rallie McAllister, MD, MPH, a preventive specialist and author of Healthy Lunchbox: A Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim, provided excellent data and ideas for this article, and I’d like to share some additional points from her book.

  • Approximately 25% of obese American children show early signs of type 2 diabetes—a 50% rise in the last decade.

  • Incredibly, only 1% of U.S. children and adolescents consume a diet that meets the recommendations of the Food Guide Pyramid.

  • The average American gets 27% of his or her total daily energy from junk foods. Nearly one-third consume half of their daily calories from these non-nutritious foods.

  • Nine out of 10 products that food manufacturers hawk to children meet the criteria for “junk food.”

  • Skipping breakfast is strongly linked to the development of obesity, and one-third of American children and adults do so on a regular basis.

  • Children who regularly consume soft drinks take in about 200 more calories each day than their classmates who abstain. A daily excess intake of 100 calories can easily lead to a 10-lb. weight gain in just a year.

  • Almost 35% of American children ages 2 to 5 drink sodas regularly. In 1979, the typical American teen consumed 20.6 gallons of soda per year. By 1994, this number rose to 64.5 gallons.

As Laura advises, “Get healthy! Go organic!”

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