Over the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of children, adolescents and adults diagnosed as overweight or obese in the United States. Today, approximately 32% of American children and adolescents, ages 2 to 19, are considered overweight or obese.
Obesity can cause many health and social problems beginning in childhood, and continuing and intensifying throughout life. These problems include type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, metabolic syndrome, obstructive sleep apnea, low self-esteem and depression.
In addition, excess weight can cause vitamin deficiencies, hormonal imbalances, and increased stress and tension that can affect bone growth and overall musculoskeletal health, causing deformity, pain, and potentially, a lifetime of limited mobility and diminished life quality.
A healthy diet, along with regular physical activity in childhood—at least 35 to 60 minutes a day—can help ensure a healthy weight and strong bones for life.