Our Place in the Universe: 2nd in childhood obesity - News - News - Blogs - Atlanta Magazine

Our Place in the Universe: 2nd in childhood obesity

Posted By: Elizabeth Florio · 7/15/2011 4:45:00 PM

A chubby child may be cute, but a state-wide childhood obesity problem is anything but. According to last week's report from Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Georgia is ranked second in the nation for childhood obesity, with more than 20 percent of our kids considered obese.

Georgia’s adult obesity ranking—seventeenth—is not as bad but nothing to celebrate. The CDC defines adult obesity as having a body mass index of more than thirty. The definition differs for growing children.

Here’s another difference between adults and children: Adults may be able to independently work on cutting the fat, but children rely on adults to feed them, set their schedules, and set the example. In commentary published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, co-authors David S. Ludwig, a pediatric endocrinologist at Harvard’s children’s hospital, and Lindsey Murtagh, a lawyer and a researcher at Harvard's School of Public Health, said the government should consider placing severely obese children under protective custody.

First Lady Michelle Obama advocates less drastic measures as part of her “Let’s Move!” initiative. In order for parents to create a healthy home environment, she advises the following:

1.    Keep fresh fruit in a bowl within your child’s reach to grab as a quick snack.
2.    Take a walk with your family after dinner.
3.    Plan a menu for the week. Get children involved in planning and cooking.
4.    Turn off the TV during meals and share some family time.
5.    Talk to the principal about organizing a school health team.

Read the full report here.

Ponder is a journalism student at the University of Georgia and a digital media intern with Atlanta magazine.
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