Wednesday, 24 October, 2001

Fat Kids Around The World

Science Daily reports today on a new study by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  According to the study, 25% of children in the United States are either overweight (14.3%) or obese (11.1%).  Furthermore, "children from other major nations are beginning to weigh too much as well".  The study looked at Russia (10% and 6%), and China (3.4% and 3.6%) as well.

The writeup in Science Daily is thin on detail, but it does point out some interesting tidbits.  For example, Chinese children of affluent parents were more likely to be obese whereas in the United States it was children of lower-income families who were more at risk.  In Russia, children from higher- and lower-income families were more likely to be obese than those from medium-income families.  Weird.  Obesity was more prevalent in urban areas of China and rural areas of Russia.  I wonder why the demographics are so completely different among the three countries.

At 25%, I'd say we have a serious problem here here in the U.S.  But what is the root cause?  How can we change it?  The effect that all these fat kids will have on our health care system when they become fat middle-aged adults will dwarf the effects of tobacco-related illnesses.  Who are the States going to sue then?