Childhood Obesity on the Rise

Sunday, April 19th 2009, 7:43 pm
By: News 9

By Jon Jordan, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A new study shows an alarming trend in America's children. It claims one in five, 4-year-olds is now obese.

The study from Ohio State University says 500,000 children at the age of just 4-years-old are obese, and health officials say when a child is obese it's a very good indicator they will be obese as an adult.

The most likely to be obese are Native American children. But experts say all parents need to listen up, because this is a problem affecting all children.

In Native American tribes there is a growing problem.

"It's rapidly growing, spreading all throughout Indian country," Blayne Roundtree with the Kickapoo Youth Council said.

A new health study shows Native Americans have the highest percentage of obese children. Roundtree, who has seen the problem first-hand, is stressing the importance of a healthy lifestyle to his peers.

"If we don't do anything there won't be anything left for us to do in the future," Roundtree said. "We have to address this now."

But the study shows obesity is a problem affecting children of every race. The study says there are more than half a million 4-year-olds now struggling with obesity.

"In the last 20 years, 30 years, it's really increased," Dietician Diane Cooke said.

Cook, a licensed dietician, says there are many factors for why more and more children are obese, but one of the big ones, she says are the parents.

"Children eat the way the parents do, so parents have a big role in helping their children making healthy decisions and being at a healthy weight," Cook said.

Cook says if nothing is done, studies have shown obese children are more likely to be obese as an adult; a reason she says the issue can't continue to be ignored.

"It's very important to address it, try to prevent childhood obesity and get on top of it early," Cook said.