HEALTH WATCH: Childhood Obesity

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:54 PM CDT
HEALTH WATCH:  Childhood Obesity story image
ESCAMBIA COUNTY    --  It's a growing problem across the country.
The Centers For Disease Control And Prevention says childhood obesity has more than doubled in the past 30-years.

"Childhood obesity is a growing problem in the United States here in Escambia County one of the ways they are trying to battle that problem is starting here in the schools by changing the lunches."

Pediatrician Doctor Michelle Grier-Hall says obesity at a young age raises many health concerns not only physical but mental.

Dr. Michelle Grier-Hall "Heart disease and diabetes which we are seeing diabetes in our children not just in adults but we're seeing diabetes in children who have obesity, so you have high blood pressure, cholesterol problems and this is not good of course the joint problems, back pains and other things you can see with obesity."

The Escambia County Health Department says there is no increase in the total percentage of students who are obese or overweight.

This year data shows 63 % of the children measured are in the normal range for body mass index.
But CDC numbers nation wide show children ages 6 to 11 years who are obese increased from 7 % in 1980 to 18 % in 2010.

Adolescents ages 12 to 19 increased from 5 % to 18 %.
Recently, schools have stepped in changing their lunch menus to healthier alternatives.

And removing friers from the cafeteria.
Jaleena Davis "There are five components in our meal whole grain bread, milk, fruit, vegetable, meat or meat alternate."

Students say they appreciate the healthy change to their diets.
And say the food isn't so bad either.
Thomas Bacon"The quality of the food has gotten a lot better. We we're pretty disappointed when it first started off and they were only going to do healthy food from now on and they got rid of the friers, but the fried chicken has got a lot better and the salads have gotten better."

Others say it's not just up to the schools.
Jaqueline Brazile "In general I think it is the parents job because I always ask my mom what are we having for dinner,  what are you cooking and it's up to her."

Doctor Grier-Hall has advice for parents
"The kids cannot eat what the parents are eating and I think if the family as a whole is doing a better job with eating healthy portion sizes, eating a well balanced diet, staying fit doing some kind of physical activity. It can be anything but do it as a family then the children would do better with managing their weight."

"For more information on how to battle childhood obesity you can log onto our website at weartv.com and click on Newslinks. HEALTH WATCH: Childhood Obesity
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