February 7, 2022

Health Food and Beverage icon Healthy Food and Beverage Standards

Childhood obesity in the U.S. is on the rise… again!

Numbers reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention prior to the pandemic (2017-2018) showed hard-earned efforts to reverse the growing trend of childhood obesity had worked. However, throughout the pandemic, as children spent more time on screens, less on the playing field and snacked their way through classes, those efforts have been undermined. Today, one in five adolescents are obese (overweight or obese) and obesity numbers following the onset of COVID-19 have risen 2 percent according to the CDC. Tragically, the impact is being felt disproportionately among low-income children and communities of color.

As a Pasadena mother and clinician working in family medicine, I see childhood obesity far too often in my patients, and the impact is staggering. The health risks of childhood obesity include diabetes, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol which in turn can translate into risks for complications of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. Beyond the physical toll, childhood obesity can have an impact on a child’s self-esteem, socialization and can ultimately impact their ability to reach their full potential. What’s more, childhood obesity takes a tremendous toll on our healthcare system, especially given the fact that it often continues into adulthood causing future health complications.

While America was making headway in addressing this issue, the COVID-19 pandemic has laid bare many of our society’s social failures, including our inability to create equitable policies, systems and environments that ensure all children have the opportunity to live healthy lives.

The virus has highlighted...

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