Ending Childhood Obesity in Nebraska

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Childhood obesity is an epidemic that is running rampant throughout the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), obesity has doubled among children and quadrupled among adolescents over the last 30 years. Obesity within children increases risk for cardiovascular disease, elevated cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, pre-diabetes, as well as bone and joint disorders. In addition to physical impact, there is significant risk for psychological disorders such as low self-esteem and stigmatization.

Children who suffer from obesity have a significantly higher likelihood of being obese as an adult. Obesity as an adult can lead to increased likelihood for developing heart disease, type II diabetes, stroke, osteoarthritis, and several forms of cancer.

In the State of Nebraska, childhood obesity impacts roughly 14% of youth between ages 2 to 18. It is essential to stop this epidemic that is growing across America. Diverging and controlling the trend starts in the home and in school. It is extremely important for parents to feed their children well-balanced meals made up of the appropriate amounts of protein, whole grains, vegetables, and fruit, while limiting intake of processed foods and refined sugar. Schools need to take charge of the meals that are served to students from preschool to high school, and they must direct the focus of breakfast, lunch, and snacks toward healthy items that provide nutrient-rich value to children.

Physical activity for children while at home and school are of the utmost importance in obesity prevention. Encouragement of children to participate in extracurricular activities by both parents and schools can mitigate the obesity trend. Overall, prevention through education of what a healthy lifestyle consists of is key to the future of youth in America.  

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