Childhood obesity is one of our nation’s leading health threats. Today, nearly 1 in 3 youth, age 2 to 19, are already obese or overweight. The obesity epidemic is clearly taking its toll, as more and more kids are developing conditions and diseases typically associated with adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 3 individuals born in the year 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes. In vulnerable populations that number increases to 1 in 2 individuals. If obesity among kids continues to increase, many believe this current generation of young people will become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.
Consider these facts:
Obesity Related Health Care Costs are Soaring
Americans spend about 9% of their total medical costs on obesity-related illnesses,  and that amount will only increase if the current trends continue.
High personal costs: Severely overweight people spend more on health care and medicine. In fact, they often spend more on health care than current smokers. 
Direct national cost: The direct costs of treating obesity-related diseases are estimated at $61 billion. 
Indirect national cost: The indirect costs of obesity (such as missed work days and future earnings losses) have been estimated at $56 billion dollars per year. 
Rising disability claims: Being severely overweight makes it much harder to manage basic activities like bathing, dressing and getting out of bed. The number of people filing for disability is rising rapidly, and the fastest growing cause of disability is type 2 diabetes. 
Obese & Overweight Children are at Risk for Serious Health Problems
Rising levels of overweight and obesity are already having a negative effect on our kids’ health and quality of life.
Diabetes on the rise: Type 2 diabetes used to be called “adult-onset diabetes.” Now, the rise in childhood obesity is linked to a dramatic rise in the number of children suffering from type 2 diabetes. 
Heart trouble at middle age: If current trends continue, adolescents with type 2 diabetes may experience heart troubles beginning as young as 30 or 40 years old. 
Increased risk of heart failure: Being overweight or out of shape makes the heart work harder.  Overweight children are more likely to grow up to be overweight adults and more likely to develop heart problems. 
Chronic medical conditions: Obesity is associated with more chronic (continuing) medical conditions than smoking or excessive drinking. 
Digestive problems: One in four obese children may have digestive troubles such as constipation. 
Higher risk of asthma: There may be a link between the rise in childhood obesity and the rise in childhood asthma. Extra weight can make it harder to breathe and can inflame the respiratory tract. Children with serious asthma are more likely to be overweight. 
Obese & Overweight Children are at Risk for a Lesser Quality of Life
Overweight and obese children often suffer from serious emotional and behavioral problems. Severely obese children may have a similar health-related quality of life as children who have been diagnosed with cancer. 
Emotional impact: Overweight and obese children often suffer from low self-esteem, experience bullying, teasing and depression.
Today, more and more families are eating out, but it is often difficult to find healthy options and appropriate portion sizes.
Eating out more: In 2006, Americans spent over eight times more eating out than in 1976.  Over the last thirty-eight years Americans’ spending on fast food has increased from $6 billion in 1970  to $156.8 billion in 2008. 
Teens and fast food: The average teen eats fast food twice a week.  Over a 15 year study, adults who ate fast food more than twice a week gained 10 pounds more than those who ate fast food less than once a week. 
Portions are growing: Kids are eating more than they need, which means they are getting extra calories. Adolescents today are eating on average 8% more than they were thirty years ago. 
Beverages are often overlooked, but they are a source of many hidden calories in our diets.
Too much sugar: The USDA recommends choosing foods that limit added sugars.
Two sodas a day: A child who drinks two cans of 12-oz soda per day consumes about 18 teaspoons of added sugar per day while consuming no healthful nutrients.
Taking bigger gulps: Boys today drink, on average, over two cans of 12-oz sodas a day, with girls averaging almost two a day. 
Unhealthy foods and beverages are available throughout the day in many schools across the country.
Poor nutrition: Only about 20 percent of high school seniors report eating fruit and green vegetables five or more times a day.” 
Marketing to kids: Food and beverage marketing can enter schools via fast food retailers on campus, televisions in classrooms and advertising in vending machines.
Unregulated nutrition: Foods offered in school vending machines are often of little nutritional value and can be loaded with fats, sugars, salt and calories.