Childhood is now the United States’ worst health crisis, experts said, urging parents to ban television in kids’ rooms and lawmakers to slap a tax on sugar-laden sodas.
Two-thirds of US adults and around one fifth of American children are now overweight or obese, and the rising rate of obesity in the United States has had a debilitating effect on Americans’ health and US healthcare spending.
In addition to costing the United States of billions of dollars every year, the obesity epidemic means a generation of Americans could have shorter lives than their parents.
Childhood obesity “is the number one public health problem in the country, putting the younger generation at risk of being the first in the history of our country to have a shorter lifespan than their parents,” former president Bill Clinton told the “Weight of the Nation” conference.
The conference was the first gathering on obesity organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Clinton was representing the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which aims to significantly cut childhood obesity by 2015.
CDC officials outlined two dozen steps — ranging from banning televisions from children’s bedrooms to making it easier for people to buy fresh food — that would help lower obesity rates and related medical costs, which have nearly doubled since 1998.
Eleven years ago, the medical costs associated with obesity were around 78 billion dollars a year; …