Why BBC?

Obesity is the result primarily of a caloric imbalance, simply meaning that more calories are consumed versus calories that are expended. The resulting weight gain is caused by various other contributing factors including genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors. Some general facts about childhood obesity are listed below.

  • Childhood Obesity & Nutrition Facts

  • Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past thirty years.
  • The percentage of children aged 6-11 years of age in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 20% in 2008.
  • The percentage of adolescents aged 12-19 years of age who were obese increased from 5% in 1980 to 18% in 2008.
  • In 2008, more than one third of all U.S. children and adolescents were overweight or obese.
  • Obese youth are more likely to have risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure.
  • In a population-based sample of 5 to 17-year-olds of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Obese adolescents are more likely to have pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels indicate a high risk for development of diabetes.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are likely to be obese as adults and are therefore more at risk for adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, stroke, several types of cancer, and osteoarthritis.
  • Obesity is associated with an increased risk for many type of cancer, including cancer of the breast, colon, endometrial, esophagus, kidney, pancreas, gall bladder, thyroid, ovary, cervix, and prostate, as well as multiple myeloma and Hodgkin's lymphoma.
  • Obesity has both immediate and long-term effects on health and well-being.

What did the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) say in its Study, "Food Hardship: A Closer Look at Hunger?"

  • In a 2010 study conducted by the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC) ranking food hardship in US metro areas, four California cities made the list, two of which (Fresno, CA and Bakersfield, CA) topped the list of cities with the highest rates of food hardship in the United States (24 and 25 percent respectively).
  • When asked in the last quarter of 2009 "Have there been times in the past 12 months when you did not have enough money to buy food that you or your family needed?" 18.5 percent of households in the U.S. answered "yes."
  • The food hardship rate is even worse for households with children - nearly one in four such households with children suffered food hardship in 2009.
  • What did the USDA Economic Research Service Survey about Household Food Security in the United States?

  • 94 percent of US Households surveyed by the USDA in 2008 stated they could not afford to eat balanced meals.
  • A 2008 USDA Economic Research Survey revealed that 37 percent of households headed by single women were food insecure.
  • A 2008 USDA Economic Research Survey revealed that 26 percent of households headed by single men were food insecure.
  • According to the 2008 USDA survey, of those households food insecure, 26 percent were African-American households.
  • According to the 2008 USDA survey, of those households food insecure, 27 percent were Hispanic-American households.
  • In 2008, 49.1 million people lived in food-insecure households, which included 32.4 million adults and 16.7 million children.
  • Since 2008, the USDA finds that the prevalence of food insecurity and food insecure households in California has consistently risen.
  • In 2009, nearly one in four households with children struggled to afford the food they needed.
  • In 2009, nationally, nearly one in five Americans (18.5 percent) has lacked the money to buy the food they needed at some point in the past year.

What does the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Say About Obesity & Child Nutrition?

  • Healthy eating for children and adolescents is important for proper growth and development, and can prevent health problems such as obesity, iron deficiency, and osteoporosis, and promotes dental health.
  • Leading dietary guidelines recommend a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free and low-fat dairy products for persons aged 2 years and older.
  • Children, adolescents, and adults should limit intake of solid fats (major sources of saturated and trans-fatty acids), cholesterol, sodium, added sugars, and refined grains.
  • Providing healthy meals in schools promotes healthy eating and helps ensure appropriate food and nutrient intake among students.
  • Proper nutrition promotes the optimal physical and mental growth and development of children.
  • Healthy eating helps prevent high cholesterol and high blood pressure and helps reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
  • A poor diet can lead to an energy imbalance (e.g., eating more calories than one expends through physical activity) and can increase one's risk for overweight and obesity.
  • Drinking sugar-sweetened beverages can result in weight gain, overweight, and obesity.
  • Providing access to drinking water gives students a healthy alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages.
  • Hunger and food insecurity (i.e., reduced food intake and disrupted eating patterns because a household lacks money and other resources for food) might increase the risk for lower dietary quality and under-nutrition.
  • Under-nutrition can negatively affect overall health, cognitive development, and school performance of children.
  • Most U.S. children do not meet the dietary recommendations for eating fruits and vegetables each day.
  • Most U.S. children do not eat the minimum dietary recommended amounts of whole grains.
  • Most U.S. children eat more than the recommended maximum daily intake of sodium (1,500-2,300 mg* each day).
  • Empty calories from added sugars and solid fats contribute to 40% of daily calories for children and adolescents aged 2-18 years, affecting the overall quality of their diets. Approximately half of all empty calories consumed by children and adolescents come from soda, fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.
  • Adolescents drink more full-calorie soda per day than milk.
  • Males aged 12-19 years drink an average of 22 ounces of full-calorie soda per day.
  • Females aged 12-19 drink an average of 14 ounces of full-calorie soda per day.
  • Eating a healthy breakfast is associated with improved cognitive function (especially memory), reduced absenteeism, and improved mood in children and adolescents.