A new study has revealed that the problem of childhood obesity is getting worse in the United States.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital conducted a National Poll on Children’s Health and it showed that adults in the United States rate childhood obesity the biggest health problem for kids.
In May 2010, as many as 2,064 adults were asked to rate 20 different health concerns for children living in their communities.
The top 10 overall health concerns for U.S. children in 2010 and the percentage of adults who rate each as a “big problem” include:
1. Childhood obesity, 38 percent 2. Drug abuse, 30 percent 3. Smoking, 29 percent 4. Internet safety, 25 percent 5. Stress, 24 percent 6. Bullying, 23 percent 7. Teen pregnancy, 23 percent 8. Child abuse and neglect, 21 percent 9. Alcohol abuse, 20 percent 10. Not enough opportunities for physical activity, 20 percent
Adults who rated health concerns as a big problem, were also asked to rate whether these health problems are getting better, staying the same or getting worse.
Fifty-seven percent of adults that rate childhood obesity as a big problem for kids say it is “getting worse.”
“The national data about the rates of childhood obesity leveling off were collected in 2007 and 2008. The perspectives we’re hearing in this poll in 2010 may reflect new changes in obesity rates seen by adults in communities across the country,” said Matthew M. Davis of the U-M Medical School.
“Another possibility is that increasing concerns may reflect the public’s growing worries about the health consequences of obesity for children, such as diabetes, heart disease, breathing and sleep problems, and arthritism,” he said.
Drug abuse and tobacco use are also of great concern as child health problems in this poll.
“High levels of public concern about drug abuse and tobacco use by kids may reflect the longer-term public health efforts to discourage substance use among youth and the clearly negative consequences of using these substances,”
“After all, the battle against illicit drug use and against tobacco smoking for kids has been active for a couple of generations now. By comparison, the battle against childhood obesity has really just begun,” Davis said.
Children’s stress moved from 8th on the top 10 list in 2009 to fifth in 2010. Among adults who rate stress as a big health problem for kids, 56 percent believe stress for kids is getting worse.
“Levels of stress among children may relate to economic challenges faced by their families in the national recession and slow recovery,” said Davis.
“The fact that stress now rates higher on the list of child health problems is a reminder that most of the problems on the list are behavioral or psychological in nature,” he added.
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