Helping Kids Get Fit

If doctors announced that nearly a fifth of our nation’s children were exhibiting signs of, say, typhoid, there’d be panic on Main Street. But for the past 10 years, public-health officials have been warning of another problem every bit as life-threatening and even more difficult to treat: childhood obesity. By now the statistics come as no surprise. Fifteen percent of children–9 million kids–are seriously overweight, a rate that has tripled since 1970. These kids are on the fast track for adult cripplers like heart disease, stroke and diabetes. And not all the problems are physical. In a recent study pediatricians reported that severely obese adolescents felt slightly more social isolation than teenage cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.What can be done about our nation of chubby kids? Once kids get fat, the odds of losing weight and keeping it off are depressingly small. That’s why doctors say that prevention, not treatment, is key. Jim Hill, head of the Center for Human…

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