Childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions in our country, as demonstrated by the report of the Centers for Disease Control, which indicates approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents ages 2-19 years are considered obese. HE Parks wants to help!
Consider these facts from the National Conference on State Legislators:
- Approximately 13 million U.S. children and adolescents are obese, with a body mass index at or above the 95th percentile.
- Obesity is a major risk factor for many serious health conditions, including type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and certain cancers.
- During the past 40 years, obesity rates for children age 6 to 11 nearly tripled — from 5% to 14% — and more than tripled for adolescents ages 12 to 19 — from 5% to 17.1%.
- Obese adolescents have an 80% chance of becoming obese adults.
- An estimated 61% of obese young people already have at least one additional health risk factor such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Childhood obesity health expenses are estimated at $14 billion annually.
- Almost 30% of U.S. children do not exercise three or more times a week.
- More than 75% of high school students do not eat the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables each day.
At the Hoffman Estates Park District, we’re taking this epidemic seriously by addressing the ways that we can help parents and their children in our community. As such, we’ve assembled a task force of managers and staff to develop a plan to educate and assist our community to improve health and lead healthier lifestyles.
The program, called HEALTH (Helping Everyone Achieve a Lifestyle That’s Healthy), will be multi-faceted and on-going. Initially, we’ll introduce a new publication, HEALTHeKids, for parents that promotes health and wellness in children; particularly those facing weight control issues. Other initiatives may include speakers at mandatory pre-season parent meetings for youth sports.
“We have the resources, facilities and programs to help parents,” said Dean Bostrom, executive director. “Keeping our kids healthy is good for the entire community.”
The park district will work with sponsor Alexian Brothers to provide information about ways to keep kids at a healthy weight. Our staff Registered Dietician, Amy Daum, will be very involved as well, providing fitness and nutrition tips.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood obesity has more than tripled in the United States over the last 30 years. It has contributed to an increase in chronic diseases like high blood pressure and Type 2 diabetes, once only seen in adults. To address this serious issue, the HEALTH Program, a District-wide childhood obesity initiative, provides the community with a variety of excellent tools and resources to combat this critical issue.
You can join HEPD in our fight against childhood obesity.
One way is to purchase or renew a Park District Youth License Plate for your vehicle! With every license plate purchased or renewed, $25 is contributed to a grant fund to support programming for kids.