Despite recent health trends in the US over the past few years, childhood obesity has remained an American epidemic. Over 16% of US children are currently obese (approx. 12 million people). Obese children have an increased risk of developing many health problems, including high blood pressure and high cholesterol (risk factors for heart diseases), as well as sleep apnea, joint problems, and chronic health conditions like asthma and type 2 diabetes.
Below are a list of some of the major factors that explain the high number of overweight and obese in the US:
- 91% of US children have poor diets and get less than 60 minutes of physical exercise of day
- Two-thirds of US children consume a sugary beverage on any given day
- 25% of high school students watch at least three hours of TV a day
- Schools across the nation have reduced recess time and replaced it with more academic instruction
In Michigan specifically, childhood obesity rates have doubled over the past 30 years. 32.6% of Michigan children are overweight or obese, which is higher than national average of 31.3%. My question to the caucus is, given the major factors mentioned above, what can the state of Michigan do to help reduce the overweight/obesity rate among children? How can they improve on what they are already doing? Should the primary responsibility fall on parents, schools, or the government, and how can these stakeholders work together?