In the United States at least one child in five is overweight and the number of overweight children continues to grow. Over the last two decades, this number has increased by more than 50 percent, and the number of "extremely" overweight children has nearly doubled. A doctor determines if children are overweight by measuring their height and weight. Although children have fewer weight-related health problems than adults, overweight children are at high risk of becoming overweight adolescents and adults. Overweight adults are at risk for a number of health problems including heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure stroke, and some forms of cancer.
Children become overweight for a variety of reasons. The most common causes are genetic factors, lack of physical activity, unhealthy eating patterns, or a combination of these factors. In rare cases, a medical problem, such as an endocrine disorder, may cause a child to become overweight. This book examines the dilemma facing the United States, as the number of obese children is growing and proposes solutions.