Young children do not get fat all on their own, they have help from a variety of sources, including the lack of physical education in schools, lack of play time and play areas, and too many calories served at home.
But many parents turn a blind eye to the fact that their children are overweight and becoming unhealthy adults.
A new report, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens Americaâ€™s Future 2010, published by the Trust for Americaâ€™s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, shows that an increasing number of children are either overweight or obese and that their parents are in denial.
The report is consistent with an analysis published in May 2010 by Kaiser Permanente citing that over one-third of American children are overweight or obese.
Parents who were polled about their children overwhelminglyâ€”to the tune of 84 percentâ€” rated their children as having an normal or healthy weight, while in fact that was not true in many of the cases.
There were also cultural issues that were addressed in the report, such as Latino parents preferring to have children who were a little on the heavier side and African American parents more likely to underestimate the weight of their children, and more likely to have an overweight child.
Across America, 28 states showed a rise in childhood obesity, with the Southern states having a higher percentage of overweight children and adults. Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, and Georgia were the worst offenders, while Oregon was the hands down winner in the fight against fat.
The poll shows that 80 percent of Americans recognize that childhood obesity is a significant and growing challenge for the country, and 50 percent of Americans believe childhood obesity is such an important issue that we need to invest more to prevent it immediately.
“Obesity rates among the current generation of young people are unacceptably high and a very serious problem,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., Robert Wood Johnson Foundation president and CEO. “To reverse this national epidemic, we have to make every community a healthy community. Americans are increasingly ready and willing to make that investment.”