Thursday, July 24, 2008

Some Statistics

I had mentioned a few weeks back that I am reading "Raising Fit Kids in a Fat World" by Judy Halliday and Joani Jack. (I am actually in the midst of SEVERAL books related to weight type issues right now.) Here are a few statistics that I wanted to share with you all:

* Currently one out of five children is overweight, impacting nearly half the families in this country.

* Children's clothing comes in plus sizes. (Unfortunately, I know this from personal experience. I needed the plus size clothes as a child.)

* We are now testing for diabetes in children as young as two years of age.

* If one parent is overweight, a child is three times more likely to be overwieght; two overweight parents and the child is TEN times more likely to be overweight. (I liked that the authors go on to say...."Children are affected by the genetics of their parents, but they are equally affected by what they observe their parents DOING.")

* From 1963 to 2002, the number of overweight children aged 6 to 19 quadrupled. Children whoa re overweight or obese now represent 30 percent of those aged 6 to 19, and 20 percent of 2 to 5 year olds.

* A recent study indicates that a significant percentage of children exceed the weight maximum for their car seat, with few, if any appropriate alternatives.

* Portion sizes have sky-rocketed in the past 40 years. Cookies now exceed USDA standards by a whopping 700 percent and cooked pasta by 480 percent.

The authors challenge you to look at the impact of the words associated with being fat, then goes on to tell this startling story:

How does our culture feel about those who are overweight? An unsettling answer to that question occurred during the Obesity Treatment and Prevention Conference in Seattle, Washington in 2004. During a lecture, the speaker passed out blank index cards to HEALTHCARE professionals and asked each person to complete the following sentence: "People who are overweight are _______." The responses were absolutely stunning. While a few were positive, many were negative -- and some were downright mean: "Pigs." "Ugly." "Unhappy." "Hopeless." "Unmotivated." "Lazy." "Scary." "Impossible to Help." And these answers came from healthcare workers who wanted to learn how to help those who are overweight!

When a group of 10 and 11 year old children were asked to study pictures of children with varying disabilities and rank them in order of acceptability, the obese child was rated below all the physical deformities, including a missing hand and facial disfigurement.

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