Our Nation's Crisis is our County's
Currently one third of all American children are overweight, and of that group, approximately 17% are obese. Since 1980, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled1, leading to a lifetime of chronic illnesses. If this trend continues, one third of all children born in 2000 or later will suffer from diabetes at some point in their lives2. In Maryland, the prevalence of diabetic adults has grown from 6.8% in 1999 to 8.7% in 2008, which continues to be above national levels3. In addition, there are significant racial and ethnic disparities. Black females (12.5%) in Maryland have almost double the diabetic rates of white females (6.8%)4. Nationwide, 40% of children in African American and Hispanic communities are suffering from overweight or obesity5. Given a growing body of research that suggests that obesity is associated with poorer academic performance beginning as early as kindergarten6, this could help explain some portion of the achievement gap.
2. Letís Move: Americaís Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids. Learn the Facts. Retrieved from: http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity
3., 4. Summary: Burden of Diabetes in Maryland. Maryland Department Health and Mental Hygiene. Retrieved from: http://phpa.dhmh.maryland.gov/cdp/pdf/Report-Diabetes.pdf
5. Letís Move: Americaís Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids. Learn the Facts. Retrieved from: http://www.letsmove.gov/learn-facts/epidemic-childhood-obesity
6. Taras, H. & Potts-Datema, W. (2005). Obesity and Student Performance at School. Journal of School Health, 75(8), pp. 291-295. Retrieved from: http://tinyurl.com/qacw3on