What’s it going to take to get the message across that obesity is a growing, costly, dangerous health problem in the U.S. and in our area?
Well, for one thing, for media to get interested. Dr. Joseph Zanga, Chief of Pediatrics at the Columbus Regional Healthcare System, says Columbus media just don’t seem to be interested in the problem. That’s a shame because the problem has reached the crisis stage.
Obesity causes endocrine and orthopedic problems. cardiovascular risks, and psychosocial problems. Increased healthcare costs run in the billions of dollars. Increased illness causes lost school and work time. It creates a less energetic workforce, and a less focused workforce, and increased turnover.
Dr. Zanga, one of the leaders of Live Healthy Columbus, says the problem is going to get a lot worse if something isn’t done because obesity is growing at a fast rate among children, including little babies.
Check out these stats.
In the Columbus area there are 90,000 children. An estimated 30,000 of them are obese or overweight.
Georgia is in the top 20 states with the highest obesity rates in the U.S.
Nearly 40% of Georgia’s children are overweight are obese. Georgia
Georgia spends $2.4 billion annually on obesity.
In the United States:
10% of children under 2 years old are overweight.
21% of children 2 – 5 years are overweight or obese.
29.8% of children 11 – 15 years are overweight or obese.
17% (12.5) million) older teens are obese. 92% of obese adolescents will be obese adults.
During the ’90s we grew from 5% to 15% of children obese.
The rate has slowed, but not stopped.
In my view, what we need is a media campaign that balances the plethora of commercials that promote unhealthy food. For instance, how many restaurant chains offer and promote healthy food menus? I can only think of one: Subway. As far as I know, it’s the only one that even brings up the subject. Maybe you know of some more. If so, click on the “comment” button and let me know.
Maybe we need warning labels like we have on cigarette packs on food packaging, something like “too much sugar/salt/fat is dangerous to your health.”