The Obesity Problem

The President’s Perspective

The Obesity Problem
The Picture of Health Foundation, Inc. is dedicated to, and determined to Fight Against Childhood Obesity.  The alarming consensus is that childhood obesity threatens the health of our young people and their future potential.

By the latest statistics there is a growing epidemic of childhood obesity in our Nation. Approximately 23 million children and adolescents in the United States—nearly one in three young people—are either obese or overweight, putting them at higher risk for serious, even life-threatening health problems. Georgia’s children have a higher prevalence of obesity than the national sample. Childhood obesity has quickly become a leading preventable cause of death and illness in children. If we don’t reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, the current generation of young people could be the first in U.S. history to live sicker and die younger.

Obesity also poses a tremendous financial threat to our economy and our health care system. It’s estimated that adult obesity costs our nation up to $147 billion per year in medical expenses. Childhood obesity alone carries a huge price tag—up to $14 billion per year in direct health care costs.

Health Impact
It has been clearly documented that obese children suffer disproportionately from a number of debilitating conditions including asthma, Type II diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart failure, liver problems (fatty liver), bone and joint problems, growth abnormalities, breathing problems such as sleep apnea and restrictive lung disease, emotional and social problems, and reduced exercise capacity.  A study has shown that 70% of obese children had at least one cardiovascular disease risk factor, and 39% had two or more.

This list is just the beginning.  Obese children will most likely become obese adults. At which point they will suffer from heart disease, stroke, certain types of cancer, osteoarthritis, gout, or gallbladder disease.

How did we get here?
Childhood obesity is the result of consuming too many calories often combined with not enough physical activity.  In infancy there is the early introduction of solid foods; in early childhood, excessive television viewing; in older children, TV watching, unhealthy snacking, playing computer and video games, and lack of exercise.

For a combination of reasons, dietary habits have shifted away from healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains to a reliance on fast food, processed snack foods and sugary drinks (soda, juices).  The combination of eating when not hungry, and the consumption of foods low in nutrients make the problem worse.

Popularity of TV, computers and video games translates into a sedentary lifestyle. Children in the United States watch an average of 3 hours of television per school day.  Only one-third of the 55 million school age children have physical education.

What can be done?
Everyone must be involved – children, parents, teachers, schools, the community, businesses, Federal and State governments. There needs to be better health education, more physical education and physical activity programs, healthier school environments and better nutrition services. An obese child does not have to be an obese adult.

The Picture of Health Foundation, Inc.
By slowing down and reversing the trend of childhood obesity, our nation will be healthier and stronger, and lives will be saved.  The mission of the Foundation is to provide the community with health education to empower people to change unhealthy lifestyles thereby increasing life expectancy. We regularly host or participate in seminars and health fairs towards this very purpose.  We provide blood pressure and Body Mass Index screenings at no cost to the people who come through the fair so that we may encourage more people to get tested on a regular basis.  These health fairs and seminars are held in schools, churches and throughout the community.

The Foundation is always seeking new ways and Partnerships with similar organizations to amplify the impact we have in the Fight Against Childhood Obesity.