Pop diva Beyoncé has teamed up with a Michelle Obama-led campaign to tackle childhood obesity by releasing a video for the song ‘Move Your Body’. Ms. Obama has made childhood obesity one of her main focuses as First Lady. As part of this initiative, President Obama authorized the first-ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity. As a result of this task force the following recommendations were made to focus on the five pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative:
Here’s the video:
How big is the problem?
According to the Let’s Move! website:
“The childhood obesity epidemic in America is a national health crisis. One in every three children(31.7%) ages 2-19 is overweight or obese. The life-threatening consequences of this epidemic createa compelling and critical call for action that cannot be ignored. Obesity is estimated to cause 112,000 deaths per year in the United States, and one third of all children born in the year 2000 are expected to develop diabetes during their lifetime. The current generation may even be on track to have a shorter lifespan than their parents.
Along with the effects on our children’s health, childhood obesity imposes substantial economic costs.Each year, obese adults incur an estimated $1,429 more in medical expenses than their normal-weight peers. Overall, medical spending on adults that was attributed to obesity topped approximately $40 billion in 1998, and by 2008, increased to an estimated $147 billion.6 Excess weight is also costly during childhood, estimated at $3 billion per year in direct medical costs.”
What is obesity and how is it measured?
Obesity is defined as excess body fat. Because body fat is difficult to measure directly, obesity is often measured by body mass index (BMI), a common scientific way to screen for whether a person is underweight,normal weight, overweight, or obese. BMI adjusts weight for height, and while it is not a perfect indicator of obesity, it is a valuable tool for public health.
Adults with a BMI between 25.0 and 29.9 are considered overweight, those with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese, and those with a BMI of 40 or more are considered extremely obese.
For children and adolescents, these BMI categories are further divided by sex and age because of the changes that occur during growth and development. Growth charts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are used to calculate children’s BMI. Children and adolescents with a BMI between the 85th and 94th percentiles are generally considered overweight, and those with a BMI at or above the sex-and age-specific 95th percentile of population on this growth chart are typically considered obese.
Determining what is a healthy weight for children is challenging, even with precise measures. BMI is often used as a screening tool, since a BMI in the overweight or obese range often, but not always, indicates that a child is at increased risk for health problems. A clinical assessment and other indicators must also be considered when evaluating a child’s overall health and development.
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