Bad News: Childhood Obesity Is Higher Than Ever

Five years ago, public health professionals started getting very excited. The data they were getting showed that obesity in the under 18s had fallen overall for the first time in decades. It sparked many to wonder whether the country had turned a corner. 

This is a collaborative post.

Unfortunately, the latest data shows a reversal. We’re right back on-trend. 

What’s going on here? Why are children continuing to put on weight, despite all of the public health programs that try to tackle the issue? 

The main problem is not understanding the issue in the first place. Most medical professionals still focus on excess calories as being the main problem. The answer to them is portion control. But humanity never needed to control the amount that it ate in the past. Hunger signals did that job well before anyone even knew what a calorie was. 

No - the overwhelming issue today is that children eat the wrong type of food. Sugary drinks, cakes, cookies, and chips all bypass their natural satiety mechanisms, making them eat more. The more they eat, the more weight they gain, and the less likely they are to maintain a healthy weight. 

The figures on childhood obesity are staggering. As you might expect, it is a bigger problem among certain ethnicities, including black and Hispanics. It also increases the child’s chances of developing chronic diseases in the future, like diabetes and obesity. 

If you’re interested in the march of childhood obesity in the US, take a look at the following infographic. The stats will shock you. 

Infographic by University of Nevada-Reno


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