THE PERCENTAGE of overweight young people in the United States has doubled since 1980, currently affecting 1 in 7 children and adolescents.1 We know that the consequences of obesity are many and both immediate as well as long-term. The current epidemic of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents is associated with obesity, and a persistently elevated body mass index (weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters) may be the key factor in the causal chain leading to type 2 diabetes.2 Obstructive sleep apnea may occur in as many as 1 in 6 obese children and can lead to daytime somnolence, neurocognitive abnormalities, and impaired learning.3 The increased medical care costs associated with obesity may be greater than those associated with smoking and drinking.4
Rivara FP, Whitaker R, Cuttler L, Sherman PM. Obesity, Nutrition, and Physical Activity – Call for Papers. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2002;156(9):852. doi:10.1001/archpedi.156.9.852
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