U.S. life span could shorten because of childhood obesity - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

U.S. life span could shorten because of childhood obesity

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SPOKANE, Wash. - For years and years, our average life expectancy has surpassed that of our parents, but the skyrocketing childhood obesity rate has experts concerned that trend could be ending.

What is the value of the lives of our children?

If your answer is, immeasurable, well, things have to change now according to a Health Commission report out of Washington, DC.

Pediatrician Dr. Carolyn McKay says "I think this report is critical, we need to be starting to talk about health AND prevention."

A commission of doctors and others in tune with health care said that if the behaviors of children do not change, the average life expectancy will drop for the generation of children we are raising now by five years.

Carole Simpson of the Robert Wood Johnson Commission says "to think that my daughter or my grandchildren will live sicker, shorter lives than I did is just, as one of the commissioners said, a call to arms. We've gotta stop this."

The commission gave three recommendations to reverse this impending change.

First, all school meals "must" be healthy meals. Second, fresh and healthy foods must be made available in low income neighborhoods. Third, all students in K-12 schools must be required to be physically active every single day.

Alice Rivlin of the Robert Wood Johnson Commission says "we have learned from many studies that if children get a good start in development at an early age they will be healthier later on."

The commission says it's time to stop relying on the health care system to make us healthy and time for parents and schools to join in and demand better eating habits and more physical activity.

Dr. Carolyn McKay says "what you learn to eat at home is what you consider good food for the rest of your life."
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