No, Childhood Obesity Is Not Plateauing
People opine every day about childhood obesity. Some of the words inform and some inflame. But most disturbing is constant flow of wishful reports that childhood obesity is plateauing. In December, headlines flowed with “good news” about “fewer chubby babies.” The cause was a study published in Pediatrics that, according to its authors, “cannot be considered representative of infants in the populations.”
The desire for good news is understandable. But a new report from FAIR Health tells us that all that joy is a little premature. This national clearinghouse for health insurance claims tells us that diagnoses for obesity and all its complications are rising for children of all ages. Claims for obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, sleep apnea, and prediabetes are all rising.
These statistics on private insurance claims do not represent data on prevalence of the problem in the entire population. But they certainly present an alarming picture of the rising impact of obesity on children’s health at every age. President Robin Gelburd of FAIR Health says:
These findings not only raise quality-of-life questions for children, but also questions about the kind of resources that will be necessary to address this emerging situation.
Glib assurances that “we’re making progress” are simply misleading. The medical consequences of childhood obesity are certainly not plateauing. Pretending otherwise leads to neglecting the health of millions of children with severe obesity.
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January 13, 2017